Today, the Kubernetes Product Security Committee is launching a new bug bounty program, funded by the CNCF, to reward researchers finding security vulnerabilities in Kubernetes.

Setting up a new bug bounty program

We aimed to set up this bug bounty program as transparently as possible, with an initial proposal, evaluation of vendors, and working draft of the components in scope. Once we onboarded the selected bug bounty program vendor, HackerOne, these documents were further refined based on the feedback from HackerOne, as well as what was learned in the recent Kubernetes security audit. The bug bounty program has been in a private release for several months now, with invited researchers able to submit bugs and help us test the triage process. After almost two years since the initial proposal, the program is now ready for all security researchers to contribute!

What’s exciting is that this is rare: a bug bounty for an open-source infrastructure tool. Some open-source bug bounty programs exist, such as the Internet Bug Bounty, this mostly covers core components that are consistently deployed across environments; but most bug bounties are still for hosted web apps. In fact, with more than 100 certified distributions of Kubernetes, the bug bounty program needs to apply to the Kubernetes code that powers all of them. By far, the most time-consuming challenge here has been ensuring that the program provider (HackerOne) and their researchers who do the first line triage have the awareness of Kubernetes and the ability to easily test the validity of a reported bug. As part of the bootstrapping process, HackerOne had their team pass the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam.

Betty Jefferson

Betty is a bookworm who will typically have four books on the go.