Jenkins security and hardening out of the box

By default Jenkins Operator performs an initial security hardening of Jenkins instance via groovy scripts to prevent any security gaps.

Jenkins Access Control

Currently Jenkins Operator generates a username and random password and stores them in a Kubernetes Secret. However any other authorization mechanisms are possible and can be done via groovy scripts or configuration as code plugin. For more information take a look at getting-started#jenkins-customization.

Any change to Security Realm or Authorization requires that user called jenkins-operator must have admin rights because Jenkins Operator calls Jenkins API.

Jenkins Hardening

The list below describes all the default security setting configured by the Jenkins Operator:

  • basic settings - use Mode.EXCLUSIVE - Jobs must specify that they want to run on master node
  • enable CSRF - Cross Site Request Forgery Protection is enabled
  • disable usage stats - Jenkins usage stats submitting is disabled
  • enable master access control - Slave to Master Access Control is enabled
  • disable old JNLP protocols - JNLP3-connect, JNLP2-connect and JNLP-connect are disabled
  • disable CLI - CLI access of /cli URL is disabled
  • configure kubernetes-plugin - secure configuration for Kubernetes plugin

If you would like to dig a little bit into the code, take a look here.

Jenkins API

The Jenkins Operator generates and configures Basic Authentication token for Jenkins Go client and stores it in a Kubernetes Secret.


Kubernetes API permissions are limited by the following roles:

Since Jenkins Operator must be able to grant permission for its’ deployed Jenkins masters to spawn pods (the Jenkins Master role above), the operator itself requires permission to create RBAC resources (the jenkins-operator role above).

Deployed this way, any subject which may create a Pod (including a Jenkins job) may assume the jenkins-operator role by using its’ ServiceAccount, create RBAC rules, and thus escape its granted permissions. Any namespace to which the jenkins-operator is deployed must be considered to implicitly grant all possible permissions to any subject which can create a Pod in that namespace.

To mitigate this issue Jenkins Operator should be deployed in one namespace and the Jenkins CR should be created in separate namespace. To achieve it change watch namespace in

Setup Jenkins Operator and Jenkins in separated namespaces

You need to create two namespaces, for example we’ll call them jenkins for Jenkins and Jenkins Operator for Jenkins Operator.

$ kubectl create ns jenkins-operator
$ kubectl create ns jenkins

Next, apply the RBAC manifests for Jenkins Operator namespace

$ kubectl -n jenkins-operator apply -f deploy/service_account.yaml
$ kubectl -n jenkins-operator apply -f deploy/role_binding.yaml

Create file role_binding_jenkins.yaml in deploy folder:

kind: RoleBinding
  name: jenkins-operator
  namespace: jenkins
- kind: ServiceAccount
  name: jenkins-operator
  namespace: jenkins-operator
  kind: Role
  name: jenkins-operator

Then, apply RBAC rules for jenkins namespace

$ kubectl -n jenkins apply -f deploy/role.yaml
$ kubectl -n jenkins apply -f role_binding_jenkins.yaml

Finally, you must create operator pod by:

$ kubectl -n jenkins -n jenkins-operator apply -f deploy/operator.yaml

Report a Security Vulnerability

If you find a vulnerability or any misconfiguration in Jenkins, please report it in the issues.

Last modified August 5, 2019