What are Network Policies?

Network Policies in Kubernetes are a feature that allows you to specify how a group of pods can communicate with each other at Layers 3 (IP) and 4 (TCP/UDP).

Note: Network policies are implemented by Network Plugins such as Weave, Calico, Cilium, etc, which are outside the scope of this document.

Specification Elements

The NetworkPolicy specification consists of four main elements:[1]

  • podSelector - pods that this policy will apply to (i.e the policy target).
  • policyTypes - defines which types of policies are included within this policy.
  • ingress - allowed inbound traffic to the target pods (optional).
  • egress - allowed outbound traffic from the target pods (optional).

Below shows an example:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: NetworkPolicy
metadata:
  name: test-network-policy
  namespace: default
spec:
  podSelector:
    matchLabels:
      app: db
  policyTypes:
  - Ingress
  - Egress
  ingress:
  - from:
    - ipBlock:
        cidr: 172.17.0.0/16
        except:
        - 172.17.1.0/24
    - namespaceSelector:
        matchLabels:
          project: myproject
    - podSelector:
        matchLabels:
          role: frontend
    ports:
    - protocol: TCP
      port: 6379
  egress:
  - to:
    - ipBlock:
        cidr: 10.0.0.0/24
    ports:
    - protocol: TCP
      port: 5978

Rule Order

The rules within the policy are not subjected to any order. Furthermore, the default behaviour, when no policies are defined, is to allow all communications so all pods can talk to each other freely.[2]

Deny All

To provide a deny all action to the policy a regular allow policy can be applied with an empty selector. Like so:

apiVersion: networking.k8s.io/v1
kind: NetworkPolicy
metadata:
  name: deny-all
  namespace: default
spec:
  podSelector: {}
  policyTypes:
  - Ingress

DNS Caveats

When applying your network policies you must ensure you do not block DNS, which Kubernetes uses to resolve name services to IP.

To permit DNS traffic for Kubernetes service lookup, the following can be added to your networkPolicy.

...
  - to:
    - namespaceSelector:
        matchLabels:
          namespace: kube-system
    ports:
    - protocol: UDP
      port: 53

Further Reading

If you are interested in learning more about Network Policies check out the following links:

https://medium.com/@reuvenharrison/an-introduction-to-kubernetes-network-policies-for-security-people-ba92dd4c809d

https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/services-networking/network-policies/

References


  1. "An Introduction to Kubernetes Network Policies for Security People." 23 Feb. 2019, https://medium.com/@reuvenharrison/an-introduction-to-kubernetes-network-policies-for-security-people-ba92dd4c809d. Accessed 5 Apr. 2019. ↩︎

  2. "An Introduction to Kubernetes Network Policies for Security People." 23 Feb. 2019, https://medium.com/@reuvenharrison/an-introduction-to-kubernetes-network-policies-for-security-people-ba92dd4c809d. Accessed 5 Apr. 2019. ↩︎