Image Signature Verification Admission Controller

In this post I will show you how you can deploy Connaisseur to Image Signature Verification into a Kubernetes cluster.

Parst of the K8S Security series

What is Connaisseur?

Connaisseur is an admission controller for Kubernetes that integrates Image Signature Verification into a cluster, as a means to ensure that only valid images are being deployed.


Notary is an open source signing solution for containers based on The Update Framework Notary uses TUFs’ roles and key hierarchy for signing of the images. There are five keys to sign the metadata files which lists all filenames in the collection, their sizes and respective hashes.

apt install notary
docker pull alpine
docker tag alpine:latest devopstales/testimage:unsigned
docker push devopstales/testimage:unsigned
notary -s -d ~/.docker/trust init -p     
Root key found, using: 31579f2a034add499da6e799bc9260d08a15ab1804298218f05f78d97a669f77
Enter passphrase for root key with ID 31579f2: 
Enter passphrase for new targets key with ID 42e49c6: 
Repeat passphrase for new targets key with ID 42e49c6: 
Enter passphrase for new snapshot key with ID 399243c: 
Repeat passphrase for new snapshot key with ID 399243c: 
Enter username: devopstales
Enter password: 
Auto-publishing changes to
Enter username: devopstales
Enter password: 
Successfully published changes for repository

docker tag alpine:latest devopstales/testimage:signed
docker push devopstales/testimage:signed
$ find ~/.docker/trust/ | head
notary -s -d ~/.docker/trust list
NAME     DIGEST                                                              SIZE (BYTES)    ROLE
----     ------                                                              ------------    ----
signed    4661fb57f7890b9145907a1fe2555091d333ff3d28db86c3bb906f6a2be93c87    528             targets/devopstales

Install Connaisseur

# The installer use yq so we need to install it

wget -O /usr/bin/yq &&\
    chmod +x /usr/bin/yq
# generate the public root cert

cd ~/.docker/trust/private
sed '/^role:\sroot$/d' $(grep -iRl "role: root" .) > root-priv.key
openssl ec -in root-priv.key -pubout -out root-pub.pem
git clone
nano helm/values.yaml
# the public part of the root key, for verifying notary's signatures
  rootPubKey: |
    -----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----
    -----END PUBLIC KEY-----

make install

Test the Image Signature Verification

kubens default

kubectl run unsigned
Error from server: admission webhook "connaisseur-svc.connaisseur.svc" denied the request: failed to verify signature of trust data.

kubectl run signed
pod/signed created

kubectl get po

Final words

Connaisseur is a grate tool but has a few shortcomings:

  • There is no option to whitelist images in a specific namespace.
  • Connaisseur supports only one Notary server
  • Connaisseur supports only one public key