Container Scanning (FREE)
- Improved support for FIPS introduced in GitLab 13.6 by upgrading
- Integration with Trivy introduced in GitLab 13.9 by upgrading
- Integration with Clair deprecated in GitLab 13.9.
- Default container scanning with Trivy introduced in GitLab 14.0.
- Integration with Grype as an alternative scanner introduced in GitLab 14.0.
- Changed the major analyzer version from
5in GitLab 15.0.
- Moved from GitLab Ultimate to GitLab Free in 15.0.
- Container Scanning variables that reference Docker renamed in GitLab 15.4.
Your application's Docker image may itself be based on Docker images that contain known vulnerabilities. By including an extra Container Scanning job in your pipeline that scans for those vulnerabilities and displays them in a merge request, you can use GitLab to audit your Docker-based apps.
Container Scanning is often considered part of Software Composition Analysis (SCA). SCA can contain aspects of inspecting the items your code uses. These items typically include application and system dependencies that are almost always imported from external sources, rather than sourced from items you wrote yourself.
GitLab offers both Container Scanning and Dependency Scanning to ensure coverage for all of these dependency types. To cover as much of your risk area as possible, we encourage you to use all of our security scanners.
GitLab integrates with open-source tools for vulnerability static analysis in containers:
To integrate GitLab with security scanners other than those listed here, see Security scanner integration.
You can enable container scanning by doing one of the following:
Include the CI job in your existing
- Implicitly use Auto Container Scanning, provided by Auto DevOps.
GitLab compares the found vulnerabilities between the source and target branches, and shows the information directly in the merge request.
|Capability||In Free||In Ultimate|
|Customize Settings (Variables, Overriding, offline environment support, etc)||Yes||Yes|
|View JSON Report as a CI job artifact||Yes||Yes|
|Generation of a JSON report of dependencies as a CI job artifact||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to enable container scanning via an MR in the GitLab UI||Yes||Yes|
|UBI Image Support||Yes||Yes|
|Support for Trivy||Yes||Yes|
|Support for Grype||Yes||Yes|
|Inclusion of GitLab Advisory Database||Limited to the time-delayed content from GitLab advisories-communities project||Yes - all the latest content from Gemnasium DB|
|Presentation of Report data in Merge Request and Security tab of the CI pipeline job||No||Yes|
|Interaction with Vulnerabilities such as merge request approvals||No||Yes|
|Solutions for vulnerabilities (auto-remediation)||No||Yes|
|Support for the vulnerability allow list||No||Yes|
|Access to Security Dashboard page||No||Yes|
|Access to Dependency List page||No||Yes|
To enable container scanning in your pipeline, you need the following:
- GitLab CI/CD pipeline must include the
teststage, which is available unless overridden with the
GitLab Runner with the
kubernetesexecutor on Linux/amd64.
18.09.03or higher installed on the same computer as the runner. If you're using the shared runners on GitLab.com, then this is already the case.
- An image matching the supported distributions.
- Build and push the Docker image to your project's container registry.
- If you're using a third-party container registry, you might need to provide authentication
credentials through the
CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORDconfiguration variables. For more details on how to use these variables, see authenticate to a remote registry.
To enable container scanning, add the
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml
The included template:
- Creates a
container_scanningjob in your CI/CD pipeline.
- Pulls the built Docker image from your project's container registry (see requirements) and scans it for possible vulnerabilities.
GitLab saves the results as a Container Scanning report artifact that you can download and analyze later. When downloading, you always receive the most-recent artifact. If dependency scan is enabled, a Dependency Scanning report artifact is also created.
The following is a sample
.gitlab-ci.yml that builds your Docker image, pushes it to the container
registry, and scans the image:
include: - template: Jobs/Build.gitlab-ci.yml - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE: $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_DEFAULT_BRANCH:$CI_COMMIT_SHA
CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE avoids duplicate vulnerability findings when an image name differs across branches.
The value of
CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE indicates the name of the scanned image as it appears on the default branch.
For more details on how this deduplication is achieved, see Setting the default branch image.
Customizing the container scanning settings
There may be cases where you want to customize how GitLab scans your containers. For example, you
may want to enable more verbose output, access a Docker registry that requires
authentication, and more. To change such settings, use the
parameter in your
.gitlab-ci.yml to set CI/CD variables.
The variables you set in your
.gitlab-ci.yml overwrite those in
This example includes the container scanning template and enables verbose output for the analyzer:
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml variables: SECURE_LOG_LEVEL: 'debug'
Scan an image in a remote registry
To scan images located in a registry other than the project's, use the following
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: CS_IMAGE: example.com/user/image:tag
Authenticate to a remote registry
Scanning an image in a private registry requires authentication. Provide the username in the
variable, and the password in the
CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD configuration variable.
For example, to scan an image from AWS Elastic Container Registry:
container_scanning: before_script: - ruby -r open-uri -e "IO.copy_stream(URI.open('https://awscli.amazonaws.com/awscli-exe-linux-x86_64.zip'), 'awscliv2.zip')" - unzip awscliv2.zip - sudo ./aws/install - aws --version - export AWS_ECR_PASSWORD=$(aws ecr get-login-password --region region) include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml CS_IMAGE: <aws_account_id>.dkr.ecr.<region>.amazonaws.com/<image>:<tag> CS_REGISTRY_USER: AWS CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD: "$AWS_ECR_PASSWORD"
Authenticating to a remote registry is not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.
Introduced in GitLab 14.6.
CS_DISABLE_DEPENDENCY_LIST CI/CD variable controls whether the scan creates a
report. This variable is currently only supported when the
trivy analyzer is used. The variable's default setting of
"false" causes the scan to create the report. To disable
the report, set the variable to
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: CS_DISABLE_DEPENDENCY_LIST: "true"
Report language-specific findings
Introduced in GitLab 14.6.
CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN CI/CD variable controls whether the scan reports
findings related to programming languages. The languages supported depend on the
By default, the report only includes packages managed by the Operating System (OS) package manager
tdnf). To report security findings in non-OS packages, set
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN: "false"
When you enable this feature, you may see duplicate findings in the Vulnerability Report if Dependency Scanning is enabled for your project. This happens because GitLab can't automatically deduplicate findings across different types of scanning tools. Please reference this comparison between GitLab Dependency Scanning and Container Scanning for more details on which types of dependencies are likely to be duplicated.
Available CI/CD variables
You can configure analyzers by using the following CI/CD variables.
WARNING: All customization of GitLab security scanning tools should be tested in a merge request before merging these changes to the default branch. Failure to do so can give unexpected results, including a large number of false positives.
||Bundle of CA certs that you want to trust. See Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority for more details.||All|
||Docker repository URL for the image to be scanned.||All|
||Docker repository tag for the image to be scanned.||All|
||Docker image of the analyzer.||All|
||The name of the
||Disable Dependency Scanning for packages installed in the scanned image. Introduced in GitLab 14.6.||All|
||Disable scanning for language-specific packages installed in the scanned image. Introduced in GitLab 14.6.||All|
||Allow access to secure Docker registries using HTTPS without validating the certificates.||All|
||Suffix added to
||Ignore vulnerabilities that are not fixed.||All|
||Allow access to insecure registries (HTTP only). Should only be set to
||Severity level threshold. The scanner outputs vulnerabilities with severity level higher than or equal to this threshold. Supported levels are
Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by
Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by
Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by
Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by
||The Docker image to be scanned. If set, this variable overrides the
||Password for accessing a Docker registry requiring authentication. The default is only set if
||Username for accessing a Docker registry requiring authentication. The default is only set if
||The path to the
||Set the minimum logging level. Messages of this logging level or higher are output. From highest to lowest severity, the logging levels are:
Support depends on which scanner is used:
|Red Hat (RHEL)|
Introduced in GitLab 14.1.
GitLab also offers FIPS-enabled Red Hat UBI
versions of the container-scanning images. You can therefore replace standard images with FIPS-enabled
images. To configure the images, set the
-fips or modify the
CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE variable to the
standard tag plus the
Prior to GitLab 15.0, the
-ubi image extension is also available. GitLab 15.0 and later only
Starting with GitLab 14.10,
-fips is automatically added to
CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE when FIPS mode is
enabled in the GitLab instance.
Container scanning of images in authenticated registries is not supported when FIPS mode
is enabled. When
CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD is set,
the analyzer exits with an error and does not perform the scan.
Enable Container Scanning through an automatic merge request
Introduced in GitLab 14.9.
To enable Container Scanning in a project, create a merge request from the Security Configuration page:
- In the project where you want to enable Container Scanning, go to Security & Compliance > Configuration.
- In the Container Scanning row, select Configure with a merge request.
This automatically creates a merge request with the changes necessary to enable Container Scanning. To complete the configuration, review and merge this merge request.
The configuration tool works best with no existing
.gitlab-ci.yml file, or with a minimal
configuration file. If you have a complex GitLab configuration file, it may not be parsed
successfully and an error may occur.
Overriding the container scanning template
If you want to override the job definition (for example, to change properties like
must declare and override a job after the template inclusion, and then
specify any additional keys.
This example sets
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: GIT_STRATEGY: fetch
The container-scanning analyzer can use different scanners, depending on the value of the
CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE configuration variable.
The following options are available:
Setting the default branch image
Introduced in GitLab 14.5.
By default, container scanning assumes that the image naming convention stores any branch-specific identifiers in the image tag rather than the image name. When the image name differs between the default branch and the non-default branch, previously-detected vulnerabilities show up as newly detected in merge requests.
When the same image has different names on the default branch and a non-default branch, you can use
CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE variable to indicate what that image's name is on the default branch.
GitLab then correctly determines if a vulnerability already exists when running scans on non-default
As an example, suppose the following:
- Non-default branches publish images with the naming convention
- The default branch publishes images with the naming convention
In this example, you can use the following CI/CD configuration to ensure that vulnerabilities aren't duplicated:
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE: $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE:$CI_COMMIT_SHA before_script: - export CS_IMAGE="$CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH:$CI_COMMIT_SHA" - | if [ "$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH" == "$CI_DEFAULT_BRANCH" ]; then export CS_IMAGE="$CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE:$CI_COMMIT_SHA" fi
CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE should remain the same for a given
CS_IMAGE. If it changes, then a
duplicate set of vulnerabilities are created, which must be manually dismissed.
When using Auto DevOps,
automatically set to
Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority
You can use the
ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE CI/CD variable to configure a custom SSL CA certificate authority, which is used to verify the peer when fetching Docker images from a registry which uses HTTPS. The
ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value should contain the text representation of the X.509 PEM public-key certificate. For example, to configure this value in the
.gitlab-ci.yml file, use the following:
container_scanning: variables: ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE: | -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----- MIIGqTCCBJGgAwIBAgIQI7AVxxVwg2kch4d56XNdDjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFADCB ... jWgmPqF3vUbZE0EyScetPJquRFRKIesyJuBFMAs= -----END CERTIFICATE-----
ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value can also be configured as a custom variable in the UI, either as a
file, which requires the path to the certificate, or as a variable, which requires the text representation of the certificate.
Vulnerability allowlisting (ULTIMATE)
To allowlist specific vulnerabilities, follow these steps:
GIT_STRATEGY: fetchin your
.gitlab-ci.ymlfile by following the instructions in overriding the container scanning template.
- Define the allowlisted vulnerabilities in a YAML file named
vulnerability-allowlist.yml. This must use the format described in
- Add the
vulnerability-allowlist.ymlfile to the root folder of your project's Git repository.
vulnerability-allowlist.yml data format
vulnerability-allowlist.yml file is a YAML file that specifies a list of CVE IDs of vulnerabilities that are allowed to exist, because they're false positives, or they're not applicable.
If a matching entry is found in the
vulnerability-allowlist.yml file, the following happens:
- The vulnerability is not included when the analyzer generates the
- The Security tab of the pipeline does not show the vulnerability. It is not included in the JSON file, which is the source of truth for the Security tab.
generalallowlist: CVE-2019-8696: CVE-2014-8166: cups CVE-2017-18248: images: registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256: CVE-2018-4180: your.private.registry:5000/centos: CVE-2015-1419: libxml2 CVE-2015-1447:
This example excludes from
- All vulnerabilities with CVE IDs: CVE-2019-8696, CVE-2014-8166, CVE-2017-18248.
- All vulnerabilities found in the
registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256container image with CVE ID CVE-2018-4180.
- All vulnerabilities found in
your.private.registry:5000/centoscontainer with CVE IDs CVE-2015-1419, CVE-2015-1447.
generalallowlistblock allows you to specify CVE IDs globally. All vulnerabilities with matching CVE IDs are excluded from the scan report.
imagesblock allows you to specify CVE IDs for each container image independently. All vulnerabilities from the given image with matching CVE IDs are excluded from the scan report. The image name is retrieved from one of the environment variables used to specify the Docker image to be scanned, such as
CS_IMAGE. The image provided in this block must match this value and must not include the tag value. For example, if you specify the image to be scanned using
CS_IMAGE=alpine:3.7, then you would use
imagesblock, but you cannot use
You can specify container image in multiple ways:
- as image name only (such as
- as full image name with registry hostname (such as
- as full image name with registry hostname and sha256 label (such as
- as image name only (such as
The string after CVE ID (
libxml2 in the previous example) is an optional comment format. It has no impact on the handling of vulnerabilities. You can include comments to describe the vulnerability.
Container scanning job log format
You can verify the results of your scan and the correctness of your
vulnerability-allowlist.yml file by looking
at the logs that are produced by the container scanning analyzer in
container_scanning job details.
The log contains a list of found vulnerabilities as a table, for example:
+------------+-------------------------+------------------------+-----------------------+------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | STATUS | CVE SEVERITY | PACKAGE NAME | PACKAGE VERSION | CVE DESCRIPTION | +------------+-------------------------+------------------------+-----------------------+------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Approved | High CVE-2019-3462 | apt | 1.4.8 | Incorrect sanitation of the 302 redirect field in HTTP transport metho | | | | | | d of apt versions 1.4.8 and earlier can lead to content injection by a | | | | | | MITM attacker, potentially leading to remote code execution on the ta | | | | | | rget machine. | +------------+-------------------------+------------------------+-----------------------+------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Unapproved | Medium CVE-2020-27350 | apt | 1.4.8 | APT had several integer overflows and underflows while parsing .deb pa | | | | | | ckages, aka GHSL-2020-168 GHSL-2020-169, in files apt-pkg/contrib/extr | | | | | | acttar.cc, apt-pkg/deb/debfile.cc, and apt-pkg/contrib/arfile.cc. This | | | | | | issue affects: apt 1.2.32ubuntu0 versions prior to 1.2.32ubuntu0.2; 1 | | | | | | .6.12ubuntu0 versions prior to 1.6.12ubuntu0.2; 2.0.2ubuntu0 versions | | | | | | prior to 2.0.2ubuntu0.2; 2.1.10ubuntu0 versions prior to 2.1.10ubuntu0 | | | | | | .1; | +------------+-------------------------+------------------------+-----------------------+------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Unapproved | Medium CVE-2020-3810 | apt | 1.4.8 | Missing input validation in the ar/tar implementations of APT before v | | | | | | ersion 2.1.2 could result in denial of service when processing special | | | | | | ly crafted deb files. | +------------+-------------------------+------------------------+-----------------------+------------------------------------------------------------------------+
Vulnerabilities in the log are marked as
Approved when the corresponding CVE ID is added to the
Running container scanning in an offline environment
For self-managed GitLab instances in an environment with limited, restricted, or intermittent access to external resources through the internet, some adjustments are required for the container scanning job to successfully run. For more information, see Offline environments.
Requirements for offline container Scanning
To use container scanning in an offline environment, you need:
- GitLab Runner with the
- To configure a local Docker container registry with copies of the container scanning images. You can find these images in their respective registries:
|GitLab Analyzer||Container Registry|
|Container-Scanning||Container-Scanning container registry|
Note that GitLab Runner has a default
pull policy of
meaning the runner tries to pull Docker images from the GitLab container registry even if a local
copy is available. The GitLab Runner
pull_policy can be set to
in an offline environment if you prefer using only locally available Docker images. However, we
recommend keeping the pull policy setting to
always if not in an offline environment, as this
enables the use of updated scanners in your CI/CD pipelines.
Support for Custom Certificate Authorities
Support for custom certificate authorities was introduced in the following versions:
Make GitLab container scanning analyzer images available inside your Docker registry
For container scanning, import the following images from
registry.gitlab.com into your
local Docker container registry:
registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning:5 registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning/grype:5 registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning/trivy:5
The process for importing Docker images into a local offline Docker registry depends on your network security policy. Please consult your IT staff to find an accepted and approved process by which you can import or temporarily access external resources. These scanners are periodically updated, and you may be able to make occasional updates on your own.
For more information, see the specific steps on how to update an image with a pipeline.
Set container scanning CI/CD variables to use local container scanner analyzers
Override the container scanning template in your
.gitlab-ci.ymlfile to refer to the Docker images hosted on your local Docker container registry:
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: image: $CI_REGISTRY/namespace/gitlab-container-scanning
If your local Docker container registry is running securely over
HTTPS, but you're using a self-signed certificate, then you must set
CS_DOCKER_INSECURE: "true"in the above
container_scanningsection of your
Automating container scanning vulnerability database updates with a pipeline
We recommend that you set up a scheduled pipeline
to fetch the latest vulnerabilities database on a preset schedule.
Automating this with a pipeline means you do not have to do it manually each time. You can use the
.gitlab-ci.yml example as a template.
variables: SOURCE_IMAGE: registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning:5 TARGET_IMAGE: $CI_REGISTRY/namespace/gitlab-container-scanning image: docker:stable update-scanner-image: services: - docker:dind script: - docker pull $SOURCE_IMAGE - docker tag $SOURCE_IMAGE $TARGET_IMAGE - echo "$CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD" | docker login $CI_REGISTRY --username $CI_REGISTRY_USER --password-stdin - docker push $TARGET_IMAGE
The above template works for a GitLab Docker registry running on a local installation. However, if
you're using a non-GitLab Docker registry, you must change the
$CI_REGISTRY value and the
docker login credentials to match your local registry's details.
Scan images in external private registries
To scan an image in an external private registry, you must configure access credentials so the container scanning analyzer can authenticate itself before attempting to access the image to scan.
This example shows the configuration needed to scan images in a private Google Container Registry:
include: - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml container_scanning: variables: CS_REGISTRY_USER: _json_key CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD: "$GCP_CREDENTIALS" CS_IMAGE: "gcr.io/path-to-you-registry/image:tag"
Before you commit this configuration, add a CI/CD variable
GCP_CREDENTIALS containing the JSON key, as described in the
Google Cloud Platform Container Registry documentation.
- The value of the variable may not fit the masking requirements for the Mask variable option, so the value could be exposed in the job logs.
- Scans may not run in unprotected feature branches if you select the Protect variable option.
- Consider creating credentials with read-only permissions and rotating them regularly if the options aren't selected.
Scanning images in external private registries is not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.
Running the standalone container scanning tool
It's possible to run the GitLab container scanning tool against a Docker container without needing to run it within the context of a CI job. To scan an image directly, follow these steps:
Run the analyzer's Docker image, passing the image and tag you want to analyze in the
docker run \ --interactive --rm \ --volume "$PWD":/tmp/app \ -e CI_PROJECT_DIR=/tmp/app \ -e CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY=registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256 \ -e CI_APPLICATION_TAG=bc09fe2e0721dfaeee79364115aeedf2174cce0947b9ae5fe7c33312ee019a4e \ registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning
The results are stored in
Reports JSON format
Once the CI job finishes, the Runner uploads these reports to GitLab, which are then available in the CI Job artifacts. In GitLab Ultimate, these reports can be viewed in the corresponding pipeline and become part of the Vulnerability Report.
These reports must follow a format defined in the security report schemas. See:
For more information, see Security scanner integration.
The Security Dashboard shows you an overview of all the security vulnerabilities in your groups, projects and pipelines.
All analyzer images are updated daily.
The images use data from upstream advisory databases depending on which scanner is used:
|AlmaLinux Security Advisory|
|Amazon Linux Security Center|
|Arch Linux Security Tracker|
|Debian Security Bug Tracker|
|GitHub Security Advisory|
|Go Vulnerability Database|
|CBL-Mariner Vulnerability Data|
|Red Hat OVAL v2|
|Red Hat Security Data API|
|Photon Security Advisories|
|Rocky Linux UpdateInfo|
|Ubuntu CVE Tracker (only data sources from mid 2021 and later)|
In addition to the sources provided by these scanners, GitLab maintains the following vulnerability databases:
- The proprietary GitLab Advisory Database.
- The open source GitLab Advisory Database (Open Source Edition).
In the GitLab Ultimate tier, the data from the GitLab Advisory Database is merged in to augment the data from the external sources. In the GitLab Premium and Free tiers, the data from the GitLab Advisory Database (Open Source Edition) is merged in to augment the data from the external sources. This augmentation currently only applies to the analyzer images for the Trivy scanner.
Database update information for other analyzers is available in the maintenance table.
Interacting with the vulnerabilities
After a vulnerability is found, you can address it.
Solutions for vulnerabilities (auto-remediation) (ULTIMATE)
Some vulnerabilities can be fixed by applying the solution that GitLab automatically generates.
To enable remediation support, the scanning tool must have access to the
Dockerfile specified by
CS_DOCKERFILE_PATH CI/CD variable. To ensure that the scanning tool
has access to this
file, it's necessary to set
GIT_STRATEGY: fetch in
.gitlab-ci.yml file by following the instructions described in this document's
overriding the container scanning template section.
Read more about the solutions for vulnerabilities.
docker: Error response from daemon: failed to copy xattrs
When the runner uses the
docker executor and NFS is used
/var/lib/docker is on an NFS mount), container scanning might fail with
an error like the following:
docker: Error response from daemon: failed to copy xattrs: failed to set xattr "security.selinux" on /path/to/file: operation not supported.
Getting warning message
gl-container-scanning-report.json: no matching files
For information on this, see the general Application Security troubleshooting section.
Changes to the container scanning analyzer can be found in the project's changelog.