Exploring StackRox

At the end of March, the source code to StackRox was released, following the 2021 acquisition by Red Hat. StackRox is a Kubernetes security tool which is now badged as Red Hat Advanced Cluster Security (RHACS), offering features such as vulnerability management, validating cluster configurations against CIS benchmarks, and some runtime behaviour analysis. In fact, it’s such a diverse range of features that I have trouble getting my head round it from the product page or even the documentation.

Source code is available via the StackRox organisation on GitHub, and the most obviously interesting repositories seem to be:

  • stackrox/stackrox, containing the main application, written in Go
  • stackrox/scanner, the vulnerability scanner, also in Go. From a first glance at the go.mod file, it does not seem to share much code with Clair, which is interesting.
  • stackrox/collector, the runtime analysis component, in C++ but also with hooks into the kernel.

My initial curiosity has been around the ‘collector’, to better understand what runtime behaviour the tool can actually pick up. I was intrigued to find that the actual kernel component is a patched version of Falco’s kernel module/eBPF probes; a few features are disabled compared to Falco, e.g. page faults and signal events.

There’s a list of supported syscalls in driver/syscall_table.c, which seems to have drifted slightly or be slightly behind the upstream Falco version? In particular I note the absence of io_uring, but given RHACS is mainly deployed on Linux 4.18 at the moment (RHEL 8) this is probably a non-issue. (But relevant if anyone were to run it on newer kernels.)

That’s as far as I’ve got for now. Red Hat are making great efforts to reach out to the community; there’s a Slack channel, and office hours recordings, and a community hub to explore further. It’s great to see new free software projects created through acquisition in this way - I’m not sure I remember seeing a comparable example.

Tim Retout

A solution architect

By Tim Retout, 2022-04-26