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A docker unix socket proxy which resticts endpoint usage to allowed sections


Exposing docker.sock to Docker container comes with security concerns. Depending on what you want to do from inside the container, the requests can be limited to specific endpoints.

You can enable an endpoint with the -a argument. Currently supported endpoints are:

  • containers: opens access to /containers/json and /containers/{name}/json
  • images: opens access to /images/json , /images/{name}/json and /images/{name}/history
  • networks: opens access to /networks and /networks/{name}
  • volumes: opens access to /volumes and /volumes/{name}
  • services: opens access to /services and /services/{id}
  • tasks: opens access to /tasks and /tasks/{name}
  • events: opens access to /events
  • info: opens access to /info
  • version: opens access to /version
  • ping: opens access to /_ping

To combine arguments, repeat them like this: ./run -a info -a version.

Example usage: limiting access from containers

The project netdata can use the docker.sock file to resolve the container names found in the cgroups filesystem, into readable names. Information for this is only available over the API. Even the docker binary uses the Docker API to access this information.

To start a docker-proxy-acl with just the containers endpoints:

./run -a containers

Using this application, a new socket file is created (/tmp/docker-proxy-acl/docker.sock). Specifically for this example, only the /containers/json and /containers/{name}/json endpoints are allowed. This socket file can be passed to the netdata container, with an additional option like this:

-v /tmp/docker-proxy-acl/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock

And now, netdata is free to query /var/run/docker.sock from within the container. If netdata is running on the host, it needs to have access to the same file - but the API stays the same.

Example usage: exposing limited access over HTTP

Using the same arguments as above, it's possible to provide a limited HTTP endpoint for the API. To do it, you have to use the separate docker-proxy project, which exposes the docker socket via HTTP. To expose our safe docker socket, use the same -v line from above, to run the new container.

This may be used to provide limited information from Docker hosts to a central monitoring dashboard.

Keep in mind, this might expose some sensitive data:

  • The environment passed to docker (may contain passwords, other sensitive data)
  • Networking information about containers (ip, gateway, exposed ports)
  • Container internals (running commands, process list, source images)

The docker-proxy-acl project doesn't aim to limit the responses in any way. If you're requesting endponts like /containters/{name}/json it will just forward all the response as-is.

TL;DR - think twice before you're exposing the docker API via HTTP


  • extend with more ACL rules for other uses/endpoints


A docker unix socket proxy which resticts endpoint usage to allowed sections



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