Manage Scanning Policies

This doc applies only to the Legacy Scanning engine. Make sure you are using the correct documentation: Which Scanning Engine to Use

Image scanning policies define several scenarios, such as:

  • The build process may be stopped.

  • Administrators may be alerted to potential risks within container images.

Each scanning policy is comprised of rules built of gates and triggers. Sysdig includes default policies that can be used to run scans as soon as registry credentials have been configured.

Users can create additional rules or policies from the available Scanning Policy Gates and Triggers.

Preconfigured Policies

Sysdig provides a number of Default (read-only) baseline policies that can be used as-is or as templates on which to build.


This policy covers the most common image scanning cases, such as:

  • checking for high vulnerabilities that have a fix available

  • checking Dockerfile best practices (e.g., ensuring health checks in an image or disallowing exposed ports)

  • validating that the vulnerability feed data is up-to-date.

This policy is a basic catch-all that cannot be deleted. If no other policy assignments are made, the Default policy is automatically used.

Dockerfile Best Practices

This policy provides out-of-the-box rules around Dockerfile best practices, such as disallowing:

  • secrets baked in as environment variables

  • root user configuration

  • exposed ports

  • run instructions that include yum upgrades.

Preconfigured Compliance Policies

The remaining preconfigured default policies deal with compliance rules such as NIST 800, PCI, GDPR, HIPAA, ISO 270001:2013 and SCO2

Audit Policy - NIST 800-190

This policy maps NIST 800-190 controls to a Sysdig Secure scanning policy, such as disallowing:

  • non-official node or Ruby packages

  • add instructions in a Docker file

  • the use of base distributions outside of expected values.

Audit Policy - PCI

This policy maps PCI (Payment Card Industry) controls to a Sysdig Secure scanning policy, such as disallowing vulnerabilities or credentials to be included in the image.

Customized Policies

You can’t edit a Default Policy - instead use the Duplicate Policy function and then customize it.

Create a Scanning Policy

  1. From the Image Scanning module, select Scanning Policies and click Add Policy(+).

    The New Policy page is displayed.

  2. Define a Name and an optional Description for the new policy.

  3. Add a Rule:

    Select the Gate and then the Trigger from the drop-down menus.

    Configure relevant parameters. (Some triggers do not require parameters to be set.)

    See Scanning Policy Gates and Triggers for details on each option.

    The example below uses the vulnerabilities gate with the package  trigger.

  1. Optional: Repeat step 5 to add rules as necessary.

  2. Click Save.

Edit a Policy

  1. From the Image Scanning module, select Scanning Policies.

  2. Select the desired policy from the list.

  3. Edit the policy rules as required, and click Save Policy.

Delete a Policy

  1. From the Image Scanning module, select Scanning Policies.

  2. Select the desired policy from the list.

  3. Click the Delete (trash can) icon and choose Yes to confirm the change.

Globally Trust|Untrust

You can add images to a globally trusted or untrusted list, or put CVEs on defined Global Exceptions lists, if desired. See Manage Vulnerability Exceptions and Global Lists. This does not affect the policy evaluation order.

Manage Policy Assignments

Unless you use a very simple, single-policy approach to scanning, you will probably assign particular policies to particular registries, repositories, or tags.

Use the Policy Assignments page to do this.

For example:

  • To evaluate all images with a “Prod” tag with your Example Prod Image Policy, use the assignment (registry/repo/tag): */*/Prod

  • To evaluate all images from with an Example Google Policy, use the assignment (registry/repo/tag):*/*

Assign a Policy

  1. From the Image Scanning module, select Scanning Policies and choose +Policy Assignments.

    The previously defined assignments are listed in priority order.

  2. Click +Add Policy Assignment.

    A new entry line appears at the top of the Assignment page. Enter the desired assignment details:

    1. Priority: Priority is the order of evaluation against the assigned policy. Each new assignment is auto-placed at Priority 1. Once a policy assignment is created and saved, you can change its priority order by dragging it into a new position on the list. See also Using Priorities.

    2. Registry: Any registry domain (e.g. Wildcards are supported; an asterisk * specifies any registry.

    3. Repository: Any repository (typically = name of the image). Wildcards are supported; an asterisk * specifies any repository.

    4. Tag: Any tag. Wildcards are supported; an asterisk * specifies any tag.

    5. Assigned Policy: Name of policy to use for evaluation. Select from the drop-down menu.

  3. Click Save.

  4. Optional: Reorganize the Priority order by clicking the drag handle (the four dots to the left of a line) and dragging the assignment to a different spot on the list.

Using Priorities

When you use more than one scanning policy, the Anchore engine evaluates them in top-down order, starting from Priority 1 in the Policy Assignment list. The first policy assignment rule that matches an input image will be evaluated, and all subsequent rules ignored. Therefore, the priority order is important.

For example, imagine a list with two defined policy assignments:

Priority 1 Registry = Repository = sysdig/*

Priority 2 Registry = Repository = sysdig/myrepo

Since the first rule uses a wild card, the evaluation applies to all repos beginning with sysdig/ and will stop before evaluating sysdig/myrepo.

Reverse the priority order to get the behavior you want.

There is a catch-all entry at the bottom of the Policy Assignment list that cannot be removed. It has the format :

registry = * repository = * tag = * assigned policy = default

(You can change the assigned policy, but other fields cannot be edited.)

The purpose of this row is to ensure that any registries that do not fall under another policy evaluation will at least be evaluated against the system-configured DefaultPolicy.