Top 10 Docker Vulnerability Scanners for 2023

By Eyal Katz October 11, 2023

Docker has revolutionized how developers work by offering a powerful platform for creating, shipping, and running container applications. It helps developers conquer the complexity of application development and significantly increases software shipping frequency. 

Despite setbacks in recent years, Docker brings home $50 million in revenue every year, driven by the ongoing demand for new applications. It’s also spearheaded by the surge in software supply chain attacks, which amplify the need to safeguard containers against security threats. Container vulnerabilities can lead to unauthorized access to applications or data, potentially costing millions of dollars in damages.

So, in this article, we will discuss the top ten Docker vulnerability scanners you can use to address the security concerns associated with Docker containers.

What are Docker Vulnerability Scanners?

Docker vulnerability scanners are tools designed to automatically scan Docker images for security vulnerabilities, such as outdated packages or known security flaws. These scanners analyze the contents of a Docker image, including its dependencies and configurations, and identify potential risks that could lead to a security breach within a containerized application environment.

While Docker vulnerability scanners can help detect many security issues, they have limitations. For instance, they might be unable to identify unknown vulnerabilities or risks from custom application code or libraries.

So, you need to combine Docker vulnerability scanners with other effective security practices, such as adopting secure software development life cycle (SSDLC) methodologies to ensure a well-rounded security approach.

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Types of Docker Vulnerability Scanners

There are various types of Docker vulnerability scanners available to address different aspects of container security:

  • Network Configuration Tools: Scan the Docker image port and network configuration to identify and flag potential issues. Examples include tools like Falco that focus on network security and monitoring.
  • Identity & Access Management Tools: Help to restrict and monitor the access of Docker containers to resources by assigning specific roles and responsibilities. Docker Bench is a commonly used identity and access management tool.
  • User-Defined Policy Tools: Allow users to create, enforce, and monitor their own security policies in containers. Examples include Spectral, which can scan various file types, including Docker containers, and tools like Anchore that focus on managing metadata associated with container images.
  • Application Security Tools: These tools help secure the code inside Docker containers. Examples include JFrog Xray and Rapid7 Insight.

Benefits of Docker Vulnerability Scanners

Docker vulnerability scanners offer several valuable benefits to users:

  • Allows developers to detect potential security issues in Docker images before they are deployed into production environments.
  • Regular scanning with vulnerability tools ensures that Docker images stay up-to-date and free from known vulnerabilities.
  • Helps to align the application with security best practices and compliance requirements.
  • Automated scanning processes streamline the assessment of Docker images, saving time and effort for development and security teams.
  • Continuous integration with CI/CD pipelines ensures that images are continuously scanned as they are built and deployed.
  • Mitigates risks associated with insecure Docker images.
  • Can be integrated with existing security tools and processes, creating a seamless security ecosystem.

Top 10 Docker Vulnerability Scanners for 2023

1. Docker Bench

Docker Bench

Docker Bench is a popular tool for checking the security configuration of Docker installations. It automatically assesses Docker hosts against common security best practices, providing valuable insights to enhance the security of their Docker environment.

Main features:

  • Checks if the Docker daemon is securely configured and if container runtime security features are enabled.
  • Identifies potential vulnerabilities within the Docker host and provides a comprehensive security assessment.
  • Generates a detailed report of the security audit. Each test is assigned an INFO, NOTE, PASS, or WARN result.
  • Ensures that your Docker environment adheres to industry-recognized best practices.
  • Can be easily integrated into your existing security workflows.

Best for: Teams looking for a quick way to assess Docker security configurations.

Price: Free.

2. Spectral


Spectral is a powerful vulnerability scanning platform that acts as a control plane over source code and other development resources. It helps developers monitor and detect issues in API keys, tokens, credentials, and security configurations in real time.

Main features:

  • Enables continuous scanning and monitoring of known and unknown assets to prevent data breaches.
  • Integrates seamlessly with popular CI systems like Jenkins and Azure DevOps.
  • Users can create and utilize custom detectors to meet specific security requirements.
  • Supports over 500 different stacks and is programming language agnostic.
  • Designed with developers in mind, providing a clean user interface and command-line approach.
  • Offers deep integration with Azure DevOps, enabling real-time vulnerability detection, policy enforcement, and customizable output formats.
  • Prioritizes the security and privacy of code and data, ensuring that no code or data is copied, sent, or stored, and does not connect with GitHub.

Best for: Protection against exposed API keys, tokens, credentials, and high-risk security misconfigurations.

Price:  Offer a free trial. Contact customer support for customized pricing options.

3. Clair


Clair is an open-source tool that can perform static analysis for vulnerabilities in Docker containers. Developers widely use it to index their container images and match them against known vulnerabilities.

Main features:

  • Allows users to update vulnerability data from various user-defined sources. 
  • Provides an API that allows clients to query the vulnerability database for a given container image. 
  • Performs a layer-by-layer analysis of container images, inspecting each layer for known security flaws. 
  • Indexes container images by creating a list of features present in each image.
  • Seamlessly integrates with the Docker ecosystem.
  • Offers a command-line tool called Clair-scanner that simplifies the scanning process.

Best for: Static analysis of vulnerabilities.

Price: Free.

4. Anchore


Anchore is another popular tool for container vulnerability scanning. It automates the container scanning process for development environments, CI/CD pipelines, registries, and runtime environments through a comprehensive set of APIs and a CLI tool.

Main features:

  • Identifies outdated package versions and vulnerabilities in their dependencies.
  • Offers an inline scanning feature through a Bash script hosted on Anchore’s server. 
  • Provides comprehensive scan results that include metadata about the image and a table of identified issues.
  • Highly customizable, allowing users to define their own security policies.

Best for: Automating container vulnerability scanning.

Price: Offers four plans: ‘Team,’ ‘Business,’ ‘Ultimate+,’ and ‘Premium’. The pricing structure is based on scanning stages, subscription tiers, environment size, SBOMs, and the number of analyzers used.

5. JFrog


JFrog offers a powerful Docker vulnerability scanner covering the entire lifecycle of your Docker images. You can use JFrog to manage development, vulnerability analysis, artifact flow control, and distribution.

Main features:

  • JFrog Docker Desktop Extension scans local Docker images to detect security vulnerabilities.
  • JFrog Xray performs deep recursive scanning of Docker images.
  • Shows you all the Docker images that contain the infected artifact.

Best for: Companies already using JFrog products or looking to cover the full lifecycle of Docker images.

Price: JFrog provides several pricing options including Pro, Enterprise X, and Enterprise+. You can also get a custom plan based on your requirements.

6. Aqua Security / Trivy

Aqua Security Trivy

Aqua Security’s Trivy is another vulnerability scanner for Docker containers and Kubernetes clusters. You can use it to detect vulnerabilities in various operating systems and programming languages, including Oracle Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

Main features:

  • Covers both operating system packages and programming language dependencies.
  • Seamlessly integrates with Docker Desktop, allowing developers to easily scan their container images for vulnerabilities directly from the Docker Dashboard.
  • It offers fast, stateless scanning, making it simple to integrate into daily routines, scripts, and continuous integration (CI) pipelines.
  • Allows developers to parse and scan an unlimited number of container images.
  • Supports various programming languages, operating system packages, and application dependencies.
  • Follows the shift-left security principle by enabling early scanning of artifacts and dependencies in the software development lifecycle.

Best for: Teams seeking an all-in-one open-source scanning solution.

Price: Free.

7. Armo


Armo is another popular security scanning tool for Docker images and Kubernetes clusters. With Armo, you can detect vulnerabilities in the early stages of SLDC or third-party registries.

Main features:

  • Provides runtime protection for Docker containers.
  • Detects vulnerabilities in operating system packages, libraries, and application dependencies, allowing users to take appropriate remediation actions.
  • Enables users to define and enforce security policies for Docker containers.
  • Leverages threat intelligence to stay up-to-date with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Helps organizations meet compliance requirements by providing auditing and reporting capabilities.

Best for: Kubernetes and Docker image scanning.

Price: Offers three pricing options: Free, Team, and Enterprise. The Team plan costs $29 per worker node/month, while the Enterprise plan is customized based on your needs.

8. Falco by Sysdig

Falco by Sysdig

Falco is an open-source solution for runtime security for hosts, containers, and Kubernetes. It provides real-time visibility into abnormal behaviors, potential security threats, and compliance violations.

Main features:

  • Provides real-time visibility into containerized applications and detects potentially malicious activities and abnormal behaviors.
  • Designed to work seamlessly in cloud-native environments, including Docker containers and Kubernetes.
  • Allows you to customize its security rules based on your specific requirements.
  • Logs detected events, providing you with an audit trail of container activities.
  • Falco is an open-source project with an active community.

Best for: Teams seeking a behavioral analysis security tool.

Price: Free.

9. Rapid7


Rapid7 provides a range of tools for Docker vulnerability scanning and container security. Rapid7 InsightVM is widely used for endpoint scanning, risk prioritizing, and remediations.

Main features:

  • Offers visibility into the risk posed by container images. It scans container images, discovers hosting systems, assigns risk scores to vulnerabilities, and provides remediation guidance. 
  • The Containerized Scan Engine allows scalable vulnerability scanning across Docker environments, with easy deployment and scheduling options. 

Best for: Organizations seeking a complete cloud security package.

Price: Contact customer support for customized pricing options.

10. Docker Scan

Docker Scan

Docker Scan CLI is a built-in tool provided by Docker to scan Docker images. It relies on a vulnerability database to identify known security flaws. So, you need to ensure Docker and the database are up to date to get accurate results.

Main features:

  • Enables basic vulnerability scanning for Docker Hub repositories and automatically scans Docker images for vulnerabilities.
  • Scans Docker images by pushing them to Docker Hub so you can view the vulnerability report on the repository page.
  • Docker Scout provides up-to-date vulnerability information and guided remediation steps for improving security posture.

Best for: Teams looking for a simple way to scan Docker images for known vulnerabilities.

Price: Free.

Total Confidence in Docker Container Security

With the increased usage of Docker, it has become paramount to safeguard Docker containers against security threats. By utilizing the Docker vulnerability scanners discussed in this article, you can identify and address potential threats before they become critical issues.

For example, Spectral helps prevent data leaks and protect your code, assets, and infrastructure, whether locally built or pulled from Docker Hub. Spectral secures your Docker containers and enhances your development process.

Get a free trial to learn more. 

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