To manage vulnerabilities in your runtime environment, Sysdig Secure will automatically analyze and scan the container image for the workloads in your clusters. It provides a list of vulnerabilities, policy evaluations, and the In Use spotlight, to help you focus on fixing the active, critical and exploitable vulnerabilities.

This document applies only to the Vulnerability Management engine, released April 20, 2022. Make sure you are using the correct documentation: Which Scanning Engine to Use. You also need to enable it in Sysdig Labs.

As of December 2022, hosts can be scanned for vulnerabilities as well as containers. See Host Scanning for details.


Why Runtime Scanning?

Although shifting vulnerability management to the earliest phases (such as integrating with CI/CD) is essential, runtime vulnerability management remains important:

  • Strong defense: Runtime VM provides an additional layer of defense to your arsenal.
  • Up-to-date: New vulnerabilities are discovered every day; new discoveries need to be checked against your running images.
  • Prioritized feedback: The In Use spotlight lets you hone in on the most important vulnerabilities discovered within your running images so you can efficiently prioritize and act.

Sysdig’s runtime scanner will:

  • Automatically observe and report on all the Runtime workloads, keeping a close-to-real time view of images and workloads executing on the different Kubernetes scopes of your infrastructure.
  • Perform periodic re-scans, guaranteeing that the vulnerabilities associated with the Runtime workloads and images are up-to-date with the latest vulnerabilities feed databases. It will automatically match a newly reported vulnerability to your runtime workloads without requiring any additional user interaction.

Understanding the Runtime Workload and Labels

Runtime entities are associated using the concept of workload, defined by:

  • A unique ImageID

  • A set of labels describing the runtime context (Kubernetes in this case)

These workload labels are in the order: cluster > namespace > type > container

  • Kubernetes cluster name, demo-kube-eks in the example above
  • Kubernetes namespace name, example-voting-app above
  • Kubernetes workload type, deployment (or daemonset, etc.)
  • Kubernetes container name, sysdiglabs/example-voting-app-result:metrics-3 above

This means:

  • Several replicas of the same deployment are considered the same workload (single entry on the table), as the images are identical and the runtime context is the same.
  • An identical image deployed on two different Kubernetes clusters will be considered two different workloads, as the runtime context is different.

About Runtime Policies

Policies let you define a set of rules that will evaluate each workload. After the evaluation, each policy will pass or fail. A policy failure or non-compliance happens if the scan result doesn’t meet all the rules in a policy.

Runtime policies contain a runtime scope filter, so it only applies workloads in that scope, or Entire infrastructure, which will apply globally.

NOTE: If you have enabled host scanning, then you can assign runtime policies to container image workloads, hosts, or the entire infrastructure.

Learn more about Vulnerability Management policies, the available rules, and how to define policies in Vulnerability Policies

Review Runtime Scan Results Overview

  1. Navigate to Vulnerabilities > Runtime.

    By default, the entire infrastructure results are shown.

    Results are ranked by:

    • Number of actual exploits
    • Severity of vulnerabilities
    • Number of vulnerabilities
  2. From here you can find and remediate the priority issues discovered, by:

    • Checking what’s In Use (see Understanding the In Use Column for details)
    • Drilling down to image details
    • Filtering results
    • Accepting risks/ revoking acceptances

Drill into Scan Result Details

Select a workload from the Runtime results list

Overview Tab

Focuses on the package view and top-priority running images (In Use).

Clickable cells lead into the Vulnerabilities list.

Vulnerabilities Tab

Provides expanded filters and a clickable list of CVEs that open the full CVE details, including source data and fix information.

Content Tab

Also organized by package view, with expanded filters and clickable CVE cells.

Policies Tab

Shows CVEs organized by the policy+rule that failed. Use the toggle to show or hide policies+rules that passed. Click CVE names for the details.

Filter and Sort Results

  • Filter by Zones

  • Filter by workload labels and optionally save constructed filters as Favorite or Default from the kebab (3-dot) menu on the filter bar.

    • Hover over the workload labels and click = or =! to add them to the filter bar to refine by cluster, namespace, or type.

  • Filter by asset type: host, workload, or container. See also Asset Types Defined.

  • Filter by evaluation: Pass / Fail / No Policy

  • Click In Use to list the results that have been evaluated for risk first.

  • Use further-refined filters within the image detail tabs, e.g. CVE Name; Severity (>=); CVSS Score (>=); Has Fix; Exploitable.

Accept Risk: Runtime

As of November, 2022, users can choose to accept the risk of a detected vulnerability or asset.

Review Understanding Accept Risk and the Enablement Prerequisites if needed.

If the minimum enablement requirements are not met, the Accept Risk button and panel will show in your interface, but will not activate. A created Acceptance would appear in Pending status for 20 minutes, then disappear as if you had never created it.

Configure an Accepted Risk

The process for Accept Risk is the same for Runtime and Pipeline.

For a Failed CVE

  1. Navigate to Vulnerabilities > Runtime.

  2. Either:

    • Select a failed asset from the list and choose the Vulnerabilities panel, then hover over the far-right column to see the Accept Risk button.

    • Select a failed asset from the list and choose the Policies panel, then hover over the far-right column to see the Accept Risk button.

  3. Click Accept Risk and continue to Complete the Configuration.

For a Failed Host or Image

You can accept risk for an entire host or image, based on the image name or host name.


  • In this case, you are not accepting the vulnerabilities within, just the asset as a whole
  • The ImageID or digests are not taken into account
  1. Navigate to Vulnerabilities > Runtime and select a failed asset.

  2. Choose the Policies panel and select the Accept image as a risk button.

  3. Continue to Complete the Configuration.

Complete the Configuration

  1. Select Accept Risk or Accept image as risk.

  2. Enter the configuration details:

    • Reason: Risk Owned, Transferred, Avoided, Mitigated, Not Relevant, or Custom

      Add details in the free-text box if needed.

    • Context: Defines the scope, i.e., the cases to which the Accept will apply.

      • Global: Every time this vulnerability is found, regardless of the asset or the package and also regardless of the phase (Pipeline, Runtime), this vulnerability will always be accepted.
      • Package: You are accepting only the combination of this CVE and a particular package. There are two sub-options:
        • Package name AND package version (default). For example: rpm 4.14.4
        • Package name - Any package version For example, rpm (any version)
      • This image: Select the particular image or hostname from the drop-down.

      Note that the context can affect multiple assets with a single configuration. For example, accepting one CVE globally would affect the policy evaluation of all the different images in which that vuln is found.

    • Expires In: 7/30/60/90 days, Custom time frame or Permanent

      • Accepts should be exceptional choices; normally they should not mask a security risk forever
      • When the Accept expires, the vulnerability (or asset) reappears in the violations count, potentially causing an evaluation to fail again.
  3. Click Accept.

    A green acknowledgment message is displayed, and a greyed-out Shield icon shows the Accept is in Pending status.

Manage Accepts

Accept Validity

The creation, editing, or revocation of an Accept does not take effect immediately. The change is in Pending status with the grey shield icon until the next runtime scan is:

  • Automatically triggered
  • Within 20 minutes

No additional changes can made to the Accept configuration while it is pending.

Note: This differs in Pipeline. See the Pipeline page for details.


There is a limit of 1000 Accept Risk items (per customer account)

  • This is the number of configurations created, not the number of impacted assets/CVEs.
    • For example, a global CVE Accept impacting 30 images counts as 1 Accept Risk item.
  • Both CVE accepts and Asset accepts count towards that total.

Review Accepts

When no longer pending, the Accept Risk shield is not greyed out and appears in the list of assets. You can also filter by Accept Risk to see all assets where an Accept has been applied.

Click into the asset to see more, and hover over the shield icon to see all the Accept Risk configuration details.

Accepted Risk on a CVE will be shown in the:

  • List of CVEs in the Vulnerabilities panel
  • List of Policy violations under the Policies panel
  • Policy evaluation card, showing the number of overridden violations

Passing Evaluations

A policy will pass if:

  • All the rules inside the policy pass, or
  • All the violations to a policy have been voided by a matching accept

A host or image will pass if:

  • All the policies attached to the asset pass, or

  • The asset itself is accepted

    In this example, the policies are failing but the asset has been accepted, indicated by the shield icon beside the [PASSED] global evaluation.

Edit an Accept

To edit an existing risk, click on the pencil icon in the Accept details.

You can edit the

  • Reason
  • Description
  • Expiration

To change the affected resource or the context, you must create a new Accept configuration, and delete the old one if no longer valid.

Topics in This Section
Host Scanning

Container Scanning

To manage container vulnerabilities in your runtime environment, you can extend the Host Scanner to scan for Docker and Podman containers present within the host file system. Sysdig provides a list of vulnerabilities, policy evaluations, has-fix, and has-exploit information to help you focus on the most critical vulnerabilities in your environment.

Risk Spotlight (In Use)

Sysdig has updated and completed the full release cycle of its pioneering Risk Spotlight tool, which identifies vulnerable packages and libraries that are actually used in runtime workloads. It is used to power the In Use field in the Vulnerability runtime scan results and Risk Spotlight integrations with 3rd-party software.