May 3, 2024

Ryan Cartwright

Navigating IaC Security: Top IaC Scanners To Keep Your Cloud Configuration Safe

Understanding Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Scanners

An Infrastructure as Code (IaC) scanner is a tool that analyzes and scans IaC configuration files, such as Terraform, CloudFormation, or Kubernetes manifests, to identify potential security risks, compliance violations, misconfigurations, and deviations from best practices.

IaC scanners typically perform static code analysis on the IaC configuration files, parsing and interpreting the code to detect issues such as:

  1. Security vulnerabilities: Identifying insecure configurations, unencrypted data transfers, open ports, or overly permissive access controls that could lead to security breaches.
  2. Compliance violations: Checking for violations of industry standards, regulatory requirements, or organizational policies related to security, privacy, and governance.
  3. Misconfigurations: Detecting misconfigurations that could lead to operational issues, such as incorrect resource sizing, missing dependencies, or inefficient resource allocation.
  4. Best practice deviations: Identifying deviations from established best practices for infrastructure provisioning, resource management, and configuration management.

IaC scanners can be integrated into the development workflow, such as in a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, to automatically scan IaC configurations as they are created or updated. This enables early detection and remediation of issues before they are deployed to production environments.

By using IaC scanners, organizations can improve the security, compliance, and reliability of their cloud infrastructure while maintaining the benefits of Infrastructure as Code, such as consistency, repeatability, and version control.

Popular IaC Scanning Tools

Here are some of the top IaC scanners currently used in the market:

  1. Checkov: An open-source tool that scans for misconfigurations in Terraform and other IaC frameworks across various cloud providers. Created by Bridgecrew. Acquired by Palo Alto Networks.
  2. TFLint: A linter focused on Terraform that helps in identifying potential errors and security issues specific to Terraform configurations.
  3. Terrascan by Tenable- An open-source static code analysis tool that scans IaC for security issues and compliance violations, supporting Terraform, Kubernetes, Helm, and other formats. Created by Accurics. Acquired by Tenable in 2023.
  4. Tfsec: An open-source static code analysis tool that scans Terraform code for potential security issues and insecure configurations. Acquired by Aqua Security in 2021.
  5. KICS(Keeping Infrastructure as Code Secure) - An open-source cloud scanning solution that can scan Terraform code for security vulnerabilities, compliance issues, and infrastructure misconfiguration. Created by Checkmarx.
  6. Prowler: An Open Source Security tool for AWS, Azure, GCP and Kubernetes to do security assessments, audits, incident response, compliance, continuous monitoring, hardening and forensics readiness.
  7. Terratest: A Go library that makes it easier to write automated tests for your infrastructure code. It provides a variety of helper functions and patterns for common infrastructure testing taskswith 1st-class support for Terraform.
  8. terraform-compliance - a lightweight, security and compliance focused test framework against terraform to enable negative testing capability for your infrastructure code.
  9. Trivy: Recognized for its simplicity and comprehensive vulnerability detection for containers and other artifacts, applicable in IaC scenarios. Open sourced by Aqua Security.
  10. Pike: A tool, to determine the minimum permissions required to run a TF/IaC run.

Navigating the Evolving Landscape: Potentially Deprecated IaC Scanners

The field of IaC scanners is rapidly evolving, with new tools being developed and existing ones being updated or discontinued regularly.

However, here are a few IaC scanners that appear to be deprecated or no longer actively maintained based on their project repositories or documentation:

  1. Fugue (acquired by Snyk):  Secure Terraform and AWS CloudFormation Infrastructure as Code (IaC) in development and CI/CD — and apply the same rules to your cloud runtime.
  2. Regula (maintained by Fugue engineers): A tool that evaluates infrastructure as code files for potential AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes security and compliance violations prior to deployment.
  3. terrafirma (archived repo by Wayfair): A static analysis tool for Terraform plans. Inspired by projects such as bandit and SecurityMonkey it is designed for use in a continous integration/deployment environment.
  4. Cloudskiff (acquired by Snyk): A cloud infrastructure security platform that included an IaC scanner, but the product has been discontinued.

These IaC Scanners for Terraform can help identify potential security risks, compliance violations, and best practice deviations in your Terraform code. These tools are essential for maintaining security and compliance in infrastructure managed by Terraform and other IaC frameworks, each providing unique capabilities to fit various organizational needs. Many of these tools integrate with popular CI/CD platforms, code repositories, and cloud providers, making it easier to incorporate them into your existing workflows and infrastructure deployment processes.

Proactive Cloud Security with Resourcely: Eliminating Misconfigurations Pre-Deployment

Resourcely offers a platform focused on streamlining cloud resource configuration and management, emphasizing security, compliance, and productivity for developers and DevOps teams. Unlike traditional IaC scanners that primarily detect configuration issues post-deployment, Resourcely provides a proactive approach by offering secure-by-default resource templates. These templates are designed to prevent misconfigurations before deployment, thus reducing the need for post-deployment corrections and security issues.

IaC scanners typically analyze existing infrastructure scripts to identify security, compliance, and best practices violations. This is essential for maintaining cloud security standards but acts more as a diagnostic tool rather than preventive. Resourcely's guardrails, on the other hand, enable organizations to set and enforce policies throughout the development lifecycle, ensuring that resources are correctly configured from the outset. This approach not only mitigates risks but also enhances developer productivity by abstracting complex security configurations and allowing developers to focus more on development tasks.

Moreover, Resourcely is designed to be deeply integrated with the development process, offering features like automated guardrails, tracking of resource modifications, and seamless integration with SCM solutions like GitHub and GitLab. This integration supports a smooth workflow where compliance and security are built-in, rather than being an afterthought.

"With Resourcely, security is no longer an afterthought; it's the foundation upon which our cloud infrastructure is built. By embedding guardrails into our CI/CD process, Resourcely empowers us to eliminate misconfigurations before they ever have a chance to manifest, fortifying our cloud environments with an impenetrable layer of security from the outset." - Director of Platform Engineering

In summary, while traditional IaC scanners play a critical role in the cloud security ecosystem by identifying and rectifying potential vulnerabilities after configurations are applied, Resourcely provides a more holistic, upfront solution that embeds security and compliance into the initial stages of infrastructure provisioning and management.