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              This page introduces Sysdig policies and the rules that comprise them, providing the conceptual background needed to create, edit, and apply security policies in your own environment.

              Understanding Sysdig Secure Policies

              A Sysdig Secure policy is a combination of rules about activities an enterprise wants to detect in an environment, the actions that should be taken if the policy rule is breached, and– potentially– the notifications that should be sent. A number of policies are delivered out-of-the-box and can be used as-is, duplicated, or edited as needed. You can also create policies from scratch, using either predefined rules or creating custom rules.

              Reviewing the Runtime Policies List

              Select Policies > Runtime Policies see the default policies you loaded into Sysdig Secure, as well as any custom policies you have created.

              From this overview, you can:

              See at a Glance

              • Severity Level Default policies are assigned High, Medium, Low, or Info level severity, which can be edited.

              • Enabled/Not Enabled Viewed by toggle position.

              • Policy Summary Includes Update status, the number of Rules, assigned Actions to take on affected containers (Stop | Pause | Notify), and Capture details, if any.

              • Policy Type icons

              Take Action

              From this panel you can also:

              • Drill down to policy details (and potentially Edit them)

              • Search and filter policies by name, policy name, severity level, policy type, or whether captures are enabled

              • Enable/Disable a policy using the toggle

              • Create a new policy using the +Add Policy button

              Understanding Sysdig Secure Rules

              Rules are the fundamental building blocks you will use to compose your security policies. A rule is any type of activity that an enterprise would want to detect in its environment.

              Rules can be expressed in two formats:

              • Falco rules syntax, which can be complex and layered. All the default rules delivered by Sysdig are Falco rules, and users can also create their own Falco rules.

              • List-matching rules syntax, which is simply a list against which a match/not match condition is applied. All these rules are user-defined. They are grouped into five types: Container Image, File System, Network, Process, and Syscall.

              Understanding the Rules Library

              The Rules Library includes all created rules which can be referenced in policies. Out of the box, it provides a comprehensive runtime security library with container-specific rules (and predefined policies) developed by Sysdig’s threat-research teams, Falco’s open-source community rules, and international security benchmarks such as CIS or MITRE ATT&CK.

              Audit-Friendly Features

              In the Rules Library interface, you can see at a glance:

              • Published By:

              • Last Updated

              for enhanced traceability and audit.

              Default rules appear in the UI as Published By: Sysdig

              User-defined rules appear as Published By: Secure UI


              Rules are categorized by tags, so you can group them by functionality, security standard, target, or whatever schema makes sense for your organization.

              Various tags are predefined and can help you organize rules into logical groups when creating or editing policies.

              Use the search boxes at the top to search by rule name or by tag.

              Using Falco within Sysdig Secure

              What is Falco

              Falco is an open-source intrusion detection and activity monitoring project. Designed by Sysdig, the project has been donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, where it continues to be developed and enhanced by the community. Sysdig Secure incorporates the Falco Rules Engine as part of its Policy and Compliance modules.

              Within the context of Sysdig Secure, most users will interact with Falco primarily through writing or customizing the rules deployed in the policies for their environment.

              Falco rules consist of a condition under which an alert should be generated and an output string to send with the alert.

              • Falco rules use the Sysdig filtering syntax.

                (Note that much of the rest of the Falco documentation describes installing and using it as a free-standing tool, which is not applicable to most Sysdig Secure users.)

              • Rule conditions are typically made up of macros and lists.

                • Macros are simply rule condition snippets that can be re-used inside rules and other macros, providing a way to factor out and name common patterns.

                • Lists are (surprise!) lists of items that can be included in rules, macros, or other lists. Unlike rules/macros, they can not be parsed as Sysdig filtering expressions.

              Behind the scenes, the falco_rules.yaml file contains the raw code for all the Falco rules in the environment, including Falco macros and lists.

              Anatomy of a Falco Rule

              All Falco rules include the following base parameters:

              • rule name: default or user-assigned

              • condition: the command-line collection of fields and arguments used to create the rule

              • output:

              • source:

              • description:

              • tags: for searching and sorting

              • priority

              Select a rule from the Rules Library to see or edit its underlying structure. The same structure applies when creating a new Falco rule and adding it to the library.

              Existing Rule
              Create a Rule

              Falco rules with the source k8s_audit need Kubernetes Audit logging enabled for conditions to be met.

              About Falco Macros

              Many of the Falco rules in the Rules Library contain Falco macros in their condition code.

              You can browse the Falco Macros list, examine a macro’s underlying code, or create your own macro. The default Falco rule set defines a number of macros that make it easier to start writing rules. These macros provide shortcuts for a number of common scenarios and can be used in any user-defined rule sets.

              About Falco Lists

              Default Falco lists are added to improve the user experience around writing custom rules for the environment.

              For example, the list can be customized and easily referenced within any rule.

              (On-Prem Only) Upgrading Falco Rules with the Rules Installer

              Sysdig Secure SaaS is always using the most up-to-date Falco rules set.

              Sysdig Secure On-Prem accounts should upgrade their Falco rules set regularly.

              Rules Installer

              For the Docker pull command and instructions for the Rules Installer, see Install Falco Rules On-Premises.

              Understanding List-Matching Rules

              List-matching rules (formerly known as “fast” rules) are used for matching against lists of items (when matchItems=true) or matching everything other than lists of items (when matchItems=false). They provide for simple detections of processes, network connections, and other operations. For example:

              • If this process is detected, trigger an action when this rule is in a policy (such as send notification).


              • If a network connection on x port is detected, trigger an action when this rule is in a policy (such as send notification)

              Unlike Falco rules, the list-matching rule types do not permit complex rule combinations, such as “If a connection on x port from y IP address is detected…”

              The five list-matching Rule Types are described below.

              Container Rules

              These rules are used to notify if a specific image name is running in an environment. The rule is evaluated when the container is started. The items in the list are image pattern names, which have the syntax <>:<port>/<name>/<name2>:<tag>@<digest>.

              Only <name2> is required; everything else is optional and inferred building on the name.

              See also: How Matching Works: Container Example and Create a List-Matching Rule: Container Type Example.

              File System Rules

              These rules are used to notify if there is write activity to a specific directory/file. The rule is evaluated when a file is opened. The items in the list are path prefixes.

              For example: /one/two/three would match a path /one/two/three, /one/two/three/four, but not /one/two/three-four.

              Network Rules

              These rules are used to:

              • Detect attempts to listen for inbound connections on ports on a specific list

              • Generally identify any inbound or outbound connection attempts

              Note that the current Sysdig UI talks about “Allowing” or “Denying” connections with network rules, but this can introduce some confusion.

              For both Inbound and Outbound connections:

              • Allow means do nothing

              • Deny means match any attempt to make an inbound or outbound a connection

              You would still need to add the rule to a policy and attach actions to respond to a connection attempt by stopping/pausing/killing the container where the connection occurred. See also: Understanding How Policy Actions Are Triggered.

              Process Rules

              These rules are used to detect if a specific process, such as SSH, is running in a particular area of the environment.

              The rule is evaluated when a process is launched. The items in the list are process names, subject to the 16-character limit enforced by the Linux kernel. (See also: Process Name Length information.)

              Syscall Rules

              The syscall rule type is almost never deployed in user-created policies; the definitions below are for information only.

              These rules are used (internally) to:

              • Notify if a specific syscall happens in a list

              • Notify if a syscall outside this trusted list happens in the environment

              The rule is evaluated on syscalls that create inbound (accept, recvfrom, recvmsg, listen) and/or outbound (connect, sendto, sendmsg) connections. The items in the list are port numbers.

              How Matching Works: Container Example

              A Container Image consists of the following components:

              <registry host>:<registry port>/<image>:<tag>@<digest>.

              Note that <image> might consist of multiple path components such as <project>/<image> or <project>/<subproject>/<image>.

              Complete example:


              <registry host> =

              <registry port> = 1234

              <image> = sysdig/agent

              <tag> = 1.0

              <digest> = sha256:da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255bfef95601890afd80709

              Each item in the containers list is first broken into the above components, using the following rules:

              • If the string ends in /, it is interpreted as a registry host and optional registry port, with no image/tag/digest provided.

              • Otherwise, it is interpreted as an image. The registry host and port may precede the image and are optional, and the tag and digest may follow the image, and are optional.

              Once the item has been broken into components, they are considered a prefix match against candidate image names.


     @sha256:da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255bfef95601890afd80709: must match all components exactly

     must match the registry host, port, image, and tag, with any digest

     must match the registry host, port, and image, with any tag or digest

              sysdig/agent: must match the image, with any tag or digest. Would not match an image, as the image provides additional information not in the match expression.

     matches all images for that registry host and port

     matches all images for that registry host

              Getting Started

              There are a variety of optional tools to help automate the creation of policies. See also:

              1 -

              Manage Policies


              Review Understanding Sysdig Secure Policies, if needed. Remember that rules are not actionable until they are added to a runtime policy. At minimum, this means:

              • Using a default or creating a policy, either manually or using one of the optional tools to help automate policy creation

              • Defining the basic parameters, such as scope and severity levels

              • Adding rules

              • Defining the policy actions to be taken when rules are breached, such as: sending an event to a notification channel (PagerDuty, Slack, email..); triggering a capture file; and/or taking action on the container (stop/kill/pause).

              Understanding How Policy Actions Are Triggered

              Policy actions occur asynchronously. If a policy has a container action and matched activity, the agent asks the Docker/Cri-o daemon to perform the stop/kill/pause action. This process takes a few minutes, during which the container still runs and the connect/accept etc. still occur.

              Deploy a Default Policy

              The first time you access the Policies tab, you will be prompted to load the Sysdig default policies.

              The policies are loaded with pre-defined enabled/disabled status, based on most common usage, but you can enable, disable, copy, edit, or delete each one as needed.

              Create a Policy

              There are a variety of optional tools to help automate the creation of policies. See also:

              To create a policy manually:

              1. Log in to Sysdig Secure and select Policies > Runtime Policies.

              2. On the Runtime Policies list page, select +Add Policy.

                Select the policy type and define the policy parameters. **Note:**The Scope available will differ by policy type.

              3. Add the rules and the actions to be taken if the policy rules are breached.

              4. Enable and Save the policy.

              Select the Policy Type

              When you click +Add Policy, you are prompted to choose the Policy Type desired:

              Scopes and Actions for Policy Types

              The scopes and actions available differ by type:




              AWS Cloud

              Scope Options


              Hosts only

              Container only


              Hosts only

              Container only





              Action Options

              Stop/ pause/ kill


              Notification channel

              Stop/ pause/ kill


              Notification channel

              Notification channel

              Notification chann

              Define the Basic Parameters

              The Policy parameters differ mainly by the Scope and Actions available on the type selected.

              • Name and Description: Provide meaningful, searchable descriptors

              • Enabled/Disabled: Once enabled, the policy will begin to generate events.

              • Severity: Choose the appropriate severity level as you would like to see it in the Runtime Policies UI.

                Policy severity is subjective and is used to group policies within a Sysdig Secure instance.

                NOTE: There is no inheritance between the underlying rule priorities and the severity you assign to the policy.

              • Scope: Define the scope to which the policy will apply, based on the type-dependent options listed.

              Add Rules

              You can select existing rules from the Library or create new rules on the fly and add them to a policy.

              The Policy Editor interface provides many flexible ways to add rules to or remove rules from a Policy; the instructions below demonstrate one way.

              See also: Manage Rules

              Import from Library

              1. From the New Policy (or Edit Policy) page, click Import from Library.

                The Import from Rules Library page is displayed.

              2. Select the checkboxes by the rules to import.

                You can pre-sort a collection of rules by searching for particular keywords or tags, or clicking a colored Tag icon (e.g. ).

              3. Click Mark for Import.

                A blue Import icon

                appears to the right of the selected rules and the Import Rules button is activated.

              4. Click Import Rules.

                The Policy page is displayed with the selected rules listed.

                You can remove a rule from a Policy by clicking the X next to the rule in the list.

              Create a Rule from the Policy Editor

              If you click New Rule instead of Import from Library, you will be linked to the procedure described in Create a Rule.

              Define Actions

              Determine what should be done if a Policy is violated. See also: Understanding How Policy Actions Are Triggered.


              Select what should happen to affected containers if the policy rules are breached:

              • Nothing (alert only): Do not change the container behavior; send a notification according to Notification Channel settings.

              • Kill: Kills one or more running containers immediately.

              • Stop: Allows a graceful shutdown (10-seconds) before killing the container.

              • **Pause:**Suspends all processes in the specified containers.

              For more information about stop vs kill command, see Docker’s documentation.


              Toggle Capture ON if you want to create a capture in case of an event, and define the number of seconds before and after the event that should be in the snapshot.

              As of June, 2021, you can add the Capture option to policies affecting events from both the Sysdig agent and Fargate Serverless Agents Fargate serverless agents. Note that for serverless agents, manual captures are not supported; you must toggle on the Capture option in the policy defintion.

              See also: Captures.

              Notification Channels

              Select a notification channel from the drop-down list, for sending notification of events to appropriate personnel.

              See also: Set Up Notification Channels.

              Copy, Edit or Delete a Policy

              Select a row in the Runtime Policies list to expand the policy details and access the icons to Edit, Copy, or Delete the policy.

              Note that policies are only auto-installed when the default policies are loaded first time. If you delete a default policy and subsequently upgrade, that policy will not be recreated.

              2 -

              Manage Rules

              Review Understanding Sysdig Secure Rules to get started.

              Access the Rules Library

              1. Select Policies > Rules Library.

              2. The Rules Library is displayed.


              • Rules are listed alphabetically by name.

              • Search: Click the magnifying glass if the Search field is not automatically opened. Search by words in the rule name.

              • Published by: Remember that default (Falco) rules show up as Published by: Sysdig ; user-created rules show as Published by: Secure UI. See also: Edit a Rule.

              • Usage: Shows number of policies where the rule and used, and whether the policies are enabled. Click the rule to see the policy names in the Rule Detail panel.

              Create a Rule

              There are different interfaces for creating Falco rules vs. list-matching rules.

              Create a Falco Rule

              1. From the Rules Library page, click +Add Rule and select Falco from the drop-down.

                The New Rule page for the Falco rule type is displayed.

              2. Enter the parameters:

                Name and Description: create a name and a meaningful description for the rule

                Condition and Output: write the condition code and outputs required. See Supported Fields for more information.

                **Priority:**This is a required field to meet the Falco rule syntax.

                Source: Define if the rule is detecting events using the Kubernetes Audit data source or using the standard syscall mechanisms

                Tags: Select relevant tags from the drop-down or add your own custom tag

              3. Click Save.

              Falco rules with the source k8s_audit need Kubernetes Audit logging enabled for conditions to be met.

              Create a List-Matching Rule: Container Type Example

              Suppose you want detect whenever someone used a specific container image that has known problems. In this case, a Container rule would be appropriate. (The other list-matching rule types have similar entry fields, as appropriate to their type.)

              1. From the Rules Library page, click +Add Rule and select Container from the drop-down.

                The New Rule page for the Container rule type is displayed.

              2. Enter the parameters:

                Name: Enter a Name, e.g. Problematic Images.

                Description: Enter a Description, e.g. Images that shouldn’t be used

                If Matching/ If Not Matching: Select If Matching. When added to a policy, if the rule conditions match, then the policy action you define (such as “send notification”) will be triggered.

                Containers: Add the container name(s) that are problematic, e.g. cassandra:3.0.23.

                Tags: Select relevant tags from the dropdown, e.g. database and container.

              3. Click Save.

              Review a Rule Detail Panel

              From the Rules Library list, select a rule to see its details.

              From here you can:

              • Review the rule definition, including clicking embedded macros to open their details in a pop-up window

              • See all the tags associated with the rule (colored boxes)

              • Check all policies in which the rule is used and see whether those policies are enabled or disabled.

              Edit a Rule

              Any rules published by Sysdig are default and are read-only. You can append to their lists and macros, but cannot change the core parameters. Default rules cannot be deleted.

              Self-created rules can be freely edited. You can also override the behavior of default Falco rules and macros using a placholder mechanism in the Rules Editor.

              To display existing rules:

              1. Select Policies>Rules Library and select a rule.

              2. The Rule Details panel opens on the right. You can review the parameters and append to macros and lists inline if desired.

              Append to Falco Macros and Lists

              Default Falco rules have a variety of macros and lists embedded in them. While these cannot be deleted from a default rule, you can append additional information onto them.

              For example, consider the Policy DB Program Spawned Process in the screenshot above. The embedded rule is used to check that databases have not spawned illicit processes. You can see in the rule condition the Falco list : db_server_binaries.

              To append items in a default list:

              1. Click the blue list text in the rule condition, or go to Policies > Falco Lists and search for it by name.

              2. The list content is displayed. Click Append.

              3. Enter the additional items (i.e. databases) you want to include in the rule and click Save.

                The same process applies to macros.

              How to Use the Rules Editor

              The Rules Editor allows you can freely create custom Falco rules, lists, and macros and can override the behavior of the defaults.

              Understand the Interface

              To access the interface, select Policies > Rules Editor:

              The Right Panel (Default)

              Displays the rules_yamls provided from Sysdig.

              • Contains the default rules and macros

              • Is read-only

              The Left Panel (Custom)

              Displays the custom rules and overrides you want to add to the selected rules_yaml.

              Note that many default Falco rules and macros have a parallel placeholder entry (commented out) in the yaml file. These have the prefix user_known. To change the behavior of a default rule, it is recommended to copy the placeholder equivalent into the custom rules panel and edit it there, rather than editing the default rule directly.

              To search the rules YAML files

              Click inside the Rules Editor right panel and use CNRL F to open an internal search field .

              See also: Runtime Policy Tuning .

              Use Cases: List-Matching Rules

              It is more helpful to think of the rules as matching the activity, rather than using concepts of allowing or denying. (The Network types can be a little confusing in this regard; see the last two use cases for more detail on that type). Thus, the use cases are based on answering the question: What do I want to know?

              I WANT TO KNOW…

              when any process other than web server programs are run:

              • Rule Type: Process

              • If Not Matching

              • Entries: [apache, httpd, nginx]

              if any of the following crypto-mining processes are run:

              • Rule Type: Process

              • If Matching

              • Entries: [minerd, ccminer]

              if any program reads any file containing password-related information:

              • Rule Type: Filesystem

              • Read Operations: If Matching

              • Entries: /etc/shadow, /etc/sudoers, /etc/pam.conf, /etc/security/pwquality.conf

              if any program writes anywhere below binary directories:

              • Rule Type: Filesystem

              • Read/Write Operations: If Matching

              • Entries: /usr, /usr/bin, /bin

              if a program writes to anywhere other than /var/tmp:

              • Rule Type: Filesystem

              • Read/Write Operations: If Not Matching

              • Entries: /var/tmp

              if any container with an image from is started:

              • Rule Type: Container

              • If Matching

              • Entries: []

              if any container runs an Apache web server:

              • Rule Type: Container

              • If Matching

              • Entries: [httpd, amd64/httpd]

              I want to know if any container with a non-database image is started:

              • Rule Type: Container

              • If Not Matching

              • Entries [percona/percona-server, mysql, postgres]

              if any program accepts an inbound ssh connection:

              • Rule Type: Network

              • Tcp, "If Matching"

              • Entries: [22]

              if any program receives a DNS datagram:

              • Rule Type: Network

              • UDP, "If Matching"

              • Entries: [53]

              if any program accepts a connection on a port other than http/https

              • Rule Type: Network

              • TCP, "If Not Matching"

              • Entries: [80, 443]

              if any program accepts any inbound connection:

              • Rule Type: Network

              • Inbound Connection: Deny

              if any program makes any outbound connection

              • Rule Type: Network

              • Outbound Connection: Deny

              3 -

              Runtime Policy Tuning

              The Runtime Policy Tuning feature assists in reducing noisy false positives in the Sysdig Secure Events feed. Built on top of the Falco Rules Tuner, it automatically adds Exceptions to rules, thereby removing particularly noisy sets of policy events and leaving the lower-volume events for later analysis.

              The tuner may be especially helpful when deploying Sysdig Secure runtime policies in a new environment. Your environment may include applications that legitimately perform actions such as running Docker clients in containers, changing namespaces, or writing below binary directories, but which trigger unwanted floods of related policy events in the default policies and rules provided by Sysdig.

              Earlier versions of Sysdig used the The Falco Rules Tuner (Legacy) .

              Using Runtime Policy Tuner


              • Sysdig agent 11.0.0+

              • Sysdig SaaS or Sysdig On-Prem 5.0+

              Please contact Sysdig Support to make this feature available in your environment.

              Enable, View, Edit Exceptions, Disable

              The tuner is enabled and disabled as needed to tame false positives and optimize the use of the Events feed. By default, it is disabled.

              1. Log in to Sysdig Secure as Admin and choose Policies > Runtime Policy Tuning.

              2. Enable the feature with the Tuning Engine toggle.

                It may take up to 24 hours to see the initial Applied Tuning Exceptions listed in the left panel.

                In the background, the tuner will evaluate policy events as they are received by the Sysdig backend, find applicable exceptions values, and add them. The AppliedTuning Exceptions file is passed along to all Sysdig agents, along with the rules and policies.

              3. If needed, you can edit the Exceptions created directly in the left-hand panel.

                Any changes will be retained as the tuner evaluates additional events.

              4. Toggle the Tuning Engine off when you feel the feature has addressed the most commonly occurring (unwanted) policy events.

                NOTE: Any exceptions in the Applied Tuning Exceptions panel will still be passed along to agents.

                To start over from scratch, clear the Applied Tuning Exceptions text and re-enable with the Tuning Engine toggle.

              Understanding How the Tuning Engine Works

              When Does the Tuner Add Exceptions?

              The Policy Tuning feature is conservative, only adding exceptions for commonly occurring events for a single rule with similar attributes.

              All three of the following conditions must be met:

              • The rule has generated at least 50 policy events

              • The average rate of events over the measurement period is greater than 10 events per minute

              • A candidate set of exception values is applicable to at least 25% of the events in that period

              This ensures the tuning feature only adds exceptions for high-volume sets of events that can be easily addressed with a single set of exception values.

              Exceptions Behind the Scenes

              If you want to understand the process of exception insertion by the tuner, consider a sample rule:

              - rule: Write below root
                desc: an attempt to write to any file
                 directly below / or /root
                condition: root_dir and evt.dir = < and
                exceptions:  - name: proc_writer
                fields: [, fd.filename]

              And a stream of policy events with outputs such as:

              File below / or /root opened for writing (user=root user_loginuid=-1 command=/usr/local/bin/my-app-server parent=java file=/state.txt program=my-app-server container_id=a97d44bbe437 image=my-registry/app-server:latest
              File below / or /root opened for writing (user=root user_loginuid=-1 command=/usr/local/bin/my-app-server parent=java file=/state.txt program=my-app-server container_id=a97d44bbe437 image=my-registry/app-server:latest
              File below / or /root opened for writing (user=root user_loginuid=-1 command=/usr/local/bin/my-app-server parent=java file=/state.txt program=my-app-server container_id=a97d44bbe437 image=my-registry/app-server:latest
              File below / or /root opened for writing (user=root user_loginuid=-1 command=/usr/local/bin/my-app-server parent=java file=/state.txt program=my-app-server container_id=a97d44bbe437 image=my-registry/app-server:latest

              Then the tuner would add the following exception values to address the false positives:

              - rule: Write below root
                - name: proc_writer
                     - [my-app-server, /state.txt]
                 append: true

              See the Falco proposal for more background information on using exceptions.

              3.1 -

              The Falco Rules Tuner (Legacy)

              This version of the tuner has been updated for Sysdig SaaS; this content is preserved for older on-prem Sysdig environments.

              Sysdig policies are built on rules, including Falco rules and macros. (For review: Understanding Sysdig Secure Rules and Using Falco within Sysdig Secure.) Sysdig is always working to improve its out-of-the-box policies based on activity captured about well-known containers and OSS applications. Nevertheless, proprietary software running in unique user environments can require a customized approach.

              The Falco Rule Tuner was created to simplify the process of updating the existing ruleset to reduce false positives.

              The tool fetches policy events generated during a configurable time window (EVENT_LOOKBACK_MINUTES), and based on occurrence threshold (EVENT_COUNT_THRESHOLD), it suggests updates to rules. It’s up to the user to evaluate the suggestions and selectively apply the changes.

              To use the Rule Tuner, you will provide some environment variables, run as a Docker container, review the output in a Slack channel or the terminal window, and then apply the recommended tuning adjustments as desired, in the Sysdig Secure Rules Editor.


              • Sysdig Secure SaaS or On-Prem version 3.5.0+

              • An available Slack channel (optional, for receiving output information)

              • Environment variable values listed in the table below

              Set Variables and Run the Container

              Gather the values needed for the following environment variables.

              Required Environment Variables for Falco Rule Tuner




              Optional: Name of the business entity. Default: test


              The endpoint for the tuning engine to query.

              For SaaS, see SaaS Regions and IP Ranges.

              For On-Prem, the endpoint has been user-defined.


              The Sysdig Secure API token used to access the Secure backend. See Find Sysdig API Token.


              Optional: The Slack webhook URL to receive the events summary and rule tuning recommendations.

              For example:


              The number of minutes the Falco Rule Tuner should look back to gather the events. Default: 60


              The threshold number of events over which a tuning is recommended. Default: 5.

              Setting the threshold to 1 would mean that every policy event should be considered a false positive.

              Required Environment Variables for Falco Rule Tuner

              Run as a Docker container:


              The output in the terminal window will show the recommended rules to be adjusted and the recommended/generated macros and their conditions, e.g.:

              ... <etc.>
              # Change for rule: Write below root
              - macro: elasticsearch-scripts_python_access_fileshost_exe_access_files
                condition: (container, image, repository endswith locationservices/elasticsearch-scripts and and ( startswith=/root/app/))

              Check Output in Slack Channel (Optional)

              The output provided in the terminal window includes only the recommended rule changes. If you provide a Slack channel URL in the environment variables, the Tuner gives both an event summary and the recommended rule changes.

              For review: How to Use the Rules Editor.

              The Tuner detects rules that may be triggering excess alert “noise” and proposes content relevant macros and macro conditions that would reduce the noise.

              To implement the suggestions, you can 1) copy the rule contents directly into the left panel of the Rules Editor and edit them, or 2) find the existing placeholder macro that was created for that rule (usual format: user_known_<rule_name> ) and add the suggested macros and conditions there.

              Note that editing the definition of a rule directly could cause overwrite issues when upgrading Sysdig versions. Creating custom rules or using the user_known placeholders is a safer procedure.

              For example, suppose you decide to implement the Tuner prompt 4 in the image above, which suggests changing the configuration of the rule Write below root. One way to proceed:

              1. Search [CTRL F] the falco_rules.yaml for Write below root.

                You will find both the Rule itself

                and placeholder macros, user_known_write_below_root_activities and user_known_write_below_root_conditions. Either one can be used.

              2. Copy one placeholder to the left-hand Custom Rules panel of the Editor: user_known_write_below_root_activities .

              3. Copy the tuner-generated macro (elasticsearch-scripts_python_access_files in this case), and conditions into the Custom Rules panel, overwriting the never_true default condition. The result is something like:

                # generated by tuner and copied to here (custom panel in the rules editor)
                - macro: elasticsearch-xxx
                  condition: (...)
                - macro: user_known_write_below_root_acitivies
                  condition: (elasticsearch-xxx) # updated from "never_true" with the generated macro name
              4. Click Save.

                The tuning adjustment will apply when the Write below root rule is invoked in a policy.

                These changes will apply anywhere that the edited macro ( user_known_write_below_root) is used. Some macros have been embedded in multiple rules and/or other macros. Edit at your discretion.

              4 -

              Install Falco Rules On-Premises

              Periodically, Sysdig releases new Falco Rules that provide additional coverage for new behaviors and adds exceptions for known good behaviors. This topic helps you install Falco Rules as a container in an on-prem deployment. For air-gapped deployments, the instructions slightly differ given the security measures employed in the isolated setup.

              Sysdig provides a container image on the Docker hub to install Falco Rules on the Sysdig Platform.

              This container image allows easy installation and upgrades of the Falco rules files for Sysdig Secure. The file contains the following:

              • The rule files.

              • The latest version of Falco.

              •  The sysdig-sdk-python wrappers that deploy the rule files to a Sysdig platform deployment.

              The image is tagged with new versions as new sets of rules files are released, and the latest tag is always pointed to the latest version.

              When a container is run with this image, it does the following:

              • Validates the rules.

              • Fetches the custom rules file and verifies compatibility with the to-be-deployed default Falco rules file.

              • Deploys the rules to the configured Sysdig Platform backend component.

              The Falco Rules Updater can be run from ANY machine on the same network as the backend that has Docker installed. It does not have to be the backend server.


              Non-Airgapped Environment

              This section assumes that the installation machine has network access to pull the image from the Docker hub.

              1. Download the container image:

                # docker pull sysdig/falco_rules_installer:latest
              2. Use the docker run to install the Falco Rules. For example:

                # docker run --rm --name falco-rules-installer --network host -it -e DEPLOY_HOSTNAME= -e -e DEPLOY_USER_PASSWORD=<my password> -e VALIDATE_RULES=yes -e DEPLOY_RULES=yes -e CREATE_NEW_POLICIES=no -e SDC_SSL_VERIFY=True sysdig/falco_rules_installer:latest

              Airgapped Environment

              This section assumes that the installation machine does not have the network access to pull the image from the Docker hub.

              1. Download the container image on a machine that is connected to the network:

                # docker pull sysdig/falco_rules_installer:latest
              2. Create an archive file for the image:

                # docker save sysdig/falco_rules_installer:latest -o falco_rules_installer.tar
              3. Transfer the tar file to the air-gapped machine.

              4. Untar the image file:

                # docker load -i file.tar

                It restores both images and tags.

              5. Use the docker run to install the Falco Rules. For example:

                # docker run --rm --name falco-rules-installer --network host -it -e DEPLOY_HOSTNAME= -e -e DEPLOY_USER_PASSWORD=<my password> -e VALIDATE_RULES=yes -e DEPLOY_RULES=yes -e CREATE_NEW_POLICIES=no -e SDC_SSL_VERIFY=True sysdig/falco_rules_installer:latest


              You can run this container from any host that has access to the server that hosts the Sysdig backend API endpoint. The hostname is specified in the DEPLOY_HOSTNAME variable. The container need not run on the hosts where the Sysdig Platform backend components are running.

              To run, the container depends on the following environment variables:

              DEPLOY_HOSTNAMEThe server that hosts the Sysdig API endpoints. The default is
              DEPLOY_USER_NAMEThe username for the account that has the admin-level access to the Sysdig API endpoints. The value defaults to a meaningless user,
              DEPLOY_USER_PASSWORDThe password for the admin user. The value defaults to a meaningless password nopassword.
              VALIDATE_RULESIf set to yes, ensure that the rules file is compatible with your user rules file. Otherwise, skip this validation step. The value defaults to yes.
              DEPLOY_RULESIf set to yes, the falco rules file is deployed. Otherwise, skip deploying the falco rules file. The value defaults to yes.
              CREATE_NEW_POLICIESIf set to yes, create new policies for any Falco rules that do not map to a policy. The value defaults is no.
              SDC_SSL_VERIFYIf set to false, allow certificate validation failures when deploying the rules. The value defaults to true.

              See Docker hub for the latest information about the image and usage.

              5 -

              Image Profiles

              The image profiling tool in Sysdig Secure takes advantage of the agent’s ability to observe the behavior of an image during runtime. It learns what is common behavior for the container and then suggests a customized policy of Falco rules to match the observed behaviors.

              This feature enhances and automates Sysdig Secure’s ability to detect anomalies at enterprise scale.

              Compared with manual creation of rules and policies, image profiles have the following advantages:

              • Actionable accuracy: Profiling provides deep visibility into the application behavior

              • Automation: Profiling uses machine learning and automated rule creation, allowing busy administrators to secure images quickly and easily

              • Security enhancement: Explicitly stating what is allowed provides better security than stating what is forbidden

              How Image Profiles Work

              Once the feature is enabled, the agents start sending “fingerprints” of what happened on the containers – network activity, files and directories accessed, processes run, and system calls used – and Sysdig Secure aggregates this information per image. Thus, for multiple containers based off of the same image, running on different nodes, the image profiler will collect and combine system activity into an image profile.

              Internal algorithms determine two aspects of behavior:

              • Length of time observed: Related to the image being in a learning/done learning state

              • Consistency of behavior: Related to the confidence level of the observed behavior and related policy rule suggestions

              Profile Contents

              A container image profile is a collection of data points related to:

              • Network activity

                • TCP ports (in/out)

                • UDP ports (in/out)

              • Processes detected

              • File system (informational only)

                • Files (read/write)

                • Directories (read/write)

              • System calls detected

              Learning/Done Learning

              If the containers run consistently, the learning phase lasts about 24 hours.

              (Note that containers, for example, that are triggered for a job that lasts an hour and then are re-triggered a week later, would have a much longer learning phase.)

              When enough samples are collected for observation, the image status is designated as Done learning. At this point, you can create a policy based on the profile.

              Confidence Levels

              The confidence level is a smart statistical indicator calculated based on behavioral consistency, both temporal and across different containers, for a given image. Low, Medium, and High confidence levels are displayed in the UI with 1, 2, or 3 squares.

              Policies should only be created from profiles with HIGH confidence levels. In this case, the container behaves very predictably across the cluster and you can create a policy to whitelist the observed behavior and trigger notifications on any anomalous activity.

              Using Image Profiles

              To use the Image Profile tool, follow these basic steps:

              1. Contact Sysdig (SaaS) or the Sysdig administrator (On-Prem) to enable the feature.

              2. Allow the agents to collect information for at least 24 hours.

              3. Review the collected profiles details, selecting those that are Done Learning and have High Confidence.

              4. Use the checkboxes to include details and create per-image policies.

              5. Repeat regularly.

              Review Profiles and Create Policies

              1. Log in to Sysdig Secure and select Policies > Image Profiles.

              2. Filter the list by Done Learning to see the actionable profiles. Focus on those with High Confidence levels (three squares).

              3. Select an image title to review and expand the elements in the Details panel. Select an individual element to see the specific data collected.

              4. Check the boxes for the items you want to include and click Create Policy from Profiles.

                The Create a Scanning Policy page is displayed.

                By default, the:

                • Title is “Image Policy - <image name>

                • Description is “Policy automatically generated by Sysdig Profiler

                • Severity is Medium

                • Scope is limited to that image

                • Action is Notify only

              5. Edit any defaults as desired and click Save.

                The new policy appears in the Runtime list.

              Additional Profile Options

              From the Image Profiles page, there are two additional actions you can take: Restart or Delete Profile. Restart purges the profile for the image and resets it to the initial learning state. Delete completely removes the profile from the database.

              Restart Profile

              Click Restart Profile to begin the learning process again. Restart is useful when the previously created policy generates false positives due to changed behavior of the containers.

              Delete Profile

              If you click Delete Profile, then:

              • The profile is deleted from the list. If the agent continues to detect activity on this image, the profile will be created again.

              • If you have already created a policy based on this profile, you should remove it as no longer useful.

              • This option is useful for deleting profiling for images that are no longer used.

              6 -

              [Beta] Policy Advisor

              Sysdig Secure has introduced a tool for enhanced Kubernetes security called the Policy Advisor. At this time, it is used exclusively for Kubernetes Pod Security Policies.

              [Beta] Pod Security Policies (PSP)

              According to Kubernetes, “A Pod Security Policy [PSP] is a cluster-level resource that controls security-sensitive aspects of the pod specification. The PodSecurityPolicy objects define a set of conditions that a pod must run with in order to be accepted into the system, as well as defaults for the related fields.”

              See more here: Kubernetes PSP documentation.

              With Sysdig’s Kubernetes Policy Advisor, you can auto-generate Pod Security Policies and perform dry tests or “simulations” of them before you commit them to an environment. These features offer several benefits:

              • PSPs help enforce least-privilege to strengthen security

              • Auto-generation can significantly decrease the time spent configuring Kubernetes policies

              • Simulation tests help teams tune their PSPs to avoid false positives, and help them avoid breaking applications during PSP deployments

              This feature is available in the Enterprise tier of the Sysdig product. See for details, or contact

              Understand the PSP Workflow

              In general, you will generate a PSP, run a simulated test, review the results, tune the PSP as needed, then turn off the simulator and add the pod security policy to the actual deployment.



              Note that Kubernetes Pod Security Policies are not the same as standard Sysdig Secure Policies and will not be displayed on the regular Policies list page.


              Typically, the workflow proceeds as follows:

              1. Access the module under Policies > Pod Security Policies.

              2. Create the Pod Security Policy rules to be tested: either upload an existing PSP or upload a yaml deployment file from which the tool will auto-generate the PSP contents.

              3. Click Start Simulation.

              4. Deploy the pods in the appropriate cluster in your environment. Because the Simulator is running, it will deploy as a dry test and trigger any resulting alerts.

              5. Check the Simulation output and tweak the PSP content if needed.

              6. When satisfied that the PSP rules perform as desired, click Stop Simulation.

              7. You are now ready to apply this PSP to your cluster. See

              Manage a Pod Security Policy Simulation

              Review the Pod Security Policies Landing Page

              Access the module from Policies>Pod Security Policies.

              The Pod Security Policies list page is displayed.

              After at least one simulation has been generated, there will be content in the list.

              Notice the following view-at-a-glance features:

              • Search Bar: Search will be performed words or characters in the PSP namesl as they appear in the Pod Security Policy column.

              • Status: This is the status of the simulation associated with the PSP name. It can be Running or Stopped .

                Note that Simulations run continuously until they are manually stopped. The “Running” symbol does not indicate “amount completed.”

              • Pod Security Policy (name): The PSP name is auto-inherited or generated from the name parameter in uploaded PSP content. You can use the name parameter to edit this title.

              • Scope: The Scope column reflects whatever Kubernetes namespace name and deployment name were defined for the simulation.

              • Rerun | Stop | Delete Simulation links: Use the 3 dots on the right to re-run a stopped simulation, stop a running one, or delete a simulation from the system.

              Generate a PSP Simulation

              1. Select Policies>Pod Security Policies and click New Simulation.

                The New Simulation page is displayed.

              2. Use the Import buttons to upload either an existing PSP Policy or a deployment YAML file.

              3. Click Generate PSP.

                The PSP rule content will be displayed in the text box below. If you used a YAML file, the PSP rule content will be auto-generated from it and displayed.

              4. Enter the and/or of the cluster where you will run the simulated PSP, or choose “all.”

              5. Click Save.

                The PSP Simulation has been defined and will appear on the PSP list page.

              Run a Simulation and Review Output Events

              1. Once you have generated a PSP simulation, simply click Start Simulation to begin.

                You can access the Start button from the main List page or from the simulation detail page.

              2. Deploy the PSP to the designated environment, where the Simulator will test it.

              3. Select the simulation while it’s running to review any generated event output.

              4. Edit the rules as needed, and Restart the simulation if necessary.

              Stop a Simulation

              When you are satisfied with the PSP test behavior. click Stop Simulation.

              You are now ready to apply this PSP to your cluster. See