C-0239 - Prefer using dedicated AKS Service Accounts





Description of the the issue

Manual approaches for authenticating Kubernetes workloads running on Azure AKS against Azure APIs are: storing service account keys as a Kubernetes secret (which introduces manual key rotation and potential for key compromise); or use of the underlying nodes' IAM Service account, which violates the principle of least privilege on a multi-tenanted node, when one pod needs to have access to a service, but every other pod on the node that uses the Service account does not.

Related resources

ClusterRoleBinding, RoleBinding

What does this control test

Kubernetes workloads should not use cluster node service accounts to authenticate to Azure AKS APIs. Each Kubernetes workload that needs to authenticate to other Azure Web Services using IAM should be provisioned with a dedicated Service account.

How to check it manually

For each namespace in the cluster, review the rights assigned to the default service account and ensure that it has no roles or cluster roles bound to it apart from the defaults.


Azure Active Directory integration
The security of AKS clusters can be enhanced with the integration of Azure Active Directory (AD). Built on decades of enterprise identity management, Azure AD is a multi-tenant, cloud-based directory, and identity management service that combines core directory services, application access management, and identity protection. With Azure AD, you can integrate on-premises identities into AKS clusters to provide a single source for account management and security.

Azure Active Directory integration with AKS clusters

With Azure AD-integrated AKS clusters, you can grant users or groups access to Kubernetes resources within a namespace or across the cluster. To obtain a kubectl configuration context, a user can run the az aks get-credentials command. When a user then interacts with the AKS cluster with kubectl, they're prompted to sign in with their Azure AD credentials. This approach provides a single source for user account management and password credentials. The user can only access the resources as defined by the cluster administrator.

Azure AD authentication is provided to AKS clusters with OpenID Connect. OpenID Connect is an identity layer built on top of the OAuth 2.0 protocol. For more information on OpenID Connect, see the Open ID connect documentation. From inside of the Kubernetes cluster, Webhook Token Authentication is used to verify authentication tokens. Webhook token authentication is configured and managed as part of the AKS cluster.

Impact Statement

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