Suraj Deshmukh


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Enabling Seccomp on your Prometheus Operator and related Pods

This post shows how you can enable seccomp on all the Pods that are deployed with Prometheus Operator

Suraj Deshmukh

3-Minute Read

Seccomp helps us limit the system calls the process inside container can make. And PodSecurityPolicy is the way to enable it on pods in Kubernetes.

Prometheus Operator

Prometheus Operator makes it really easy to monitor your Kubernetes cluster. To deploy this behemoth, helm chart is the easiest way to do it.

Almost all the pods that run as a part of Prometheus Operator viz. Prometheus Operator, Prometheus, Alertmanager, Grafana, Kube State Metrics don’t need to run with elevated privileges except Node Exporter. In your Kubernetes cluster if you are using PodSecurityPolicy to make sure that your cluster is secure, then you would want your Prometheus Operator pods to run securely as well. And the good news is, Prometheus Operator chart ships PodSecurityPolicy for each sub-component. We will look at how to enable seccomp for all the sub-components.

Since these components have their own PSPs, to enable seccomp on the pods you only need to add specific annotations in metadata.annotations. These annotations can help you to select and set the seccomp profiles that is applied to the Pod which is mutated by that PSP. More information on seccomp with PSP is in the Kubernetes docs.

In examples below I assume that you are running your workloads on Docker, hence the annotation value is docker/default. If you are running your workloads on other runtimes then use the generic runtime/default policy as mentioned in the docs. There are ways to provide custom seccomp profiles, but it is out of scope of this post.

Kube State Metrics

Using Kube State Metrics is the best way to monitor your Kubernetes cluster state. Kube State Metrics chart supports custom PSP annotations which is little different from other components.

In the Prometheus Operator helm chart values file add following snippet to enable seccomp to the Kube State Metrics Pods:

    annotations: 'docker/default'  'docker/default'

Once this is added the resultant PSP will have following annotations:

apiVersion: policy/v1beta1
kind: PodSecurityPolicy
 name: prometheus-operator-kube-state-metrics
 annotations: docker/default docker/default

Now the Kube State Metrics pod that is mutated by the above PSP will have a seccomp profile that is shipped with Docker.

Prometheus Operator

For workloads Prometheus, Prometheus Operator, Alertmanager here are steps to enable seccomp on those pods. Since Grafana chart already ships pods with seccomp enabled so we don’t need any special provisions.

In the Prometheus Operator helm chart values file add following snippet:

    pspAnnotations: 'docker/default'  'docker/default'

This will add above annotations to the PSP metadata.annotations of the aforementioned workloads.

Verify if seccomp is enabled on a pod

To verify if the seccomp is enabled on a pod, you kubectl exec into the pod and run following command:

cat /proc/self/status | grep Seccomp:

If the output is Seccomp: 2 then seccomp is enabled. If it is Seccomp: 0 then seccomp is disabled.


Read more in depth about Kubernetes and Seccomp in this blog post.

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I am a Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, working on various tooling around container technology like Docker, Kubernetes, etc.