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Getting Started

Before you Begin

You need to have a Kubernetes cluster, and the kubectl command-line tool must be configured to communicate with your cluster. If you do not already have a cluster, you can create one by installing minikube or kind, or you can use one of these Kubernetes playgrounds:

You also need the starboard command to be installed, e.g. From the Binary Releases. By default, it will use the same configuration as kubectl to communicate with the cluster.

Scanning Workloads

The easiest way to get started with Starboard is to use an imperative starboard command, which allows ad hoc scanning of Kubernetes workloads deployed in your cluster.

To begin with, execute the following one-time setup command:

starboard install

The install subcommand creates the starboard namespace, in which Starboard executes Kubernetes jobs to perform scans. It also sends custom security resources definitions to the Kubernetes API and creates default configuration objects:

kubectl api-resources --api-group
NAME                          SHORTNAMES                 APIVERSION                        NAMESPACED   KIND
ciskubebenchreports           kubebench           false        CISKubeBenchReport
clusterconfigauditreports     clusterconfigaudit   false        ClusterConfigAuditReport
clustervulnerabilityreports   clustervuln,clustervulns   false        ClusterVulnerabilityReport
configauditreports            configaudit         true         ConfigAuditReport
kubehunterreports             kubehunter          false        KubeHunterReport
vulnerabilityreports          vuln,vulns          true         VulnerabilityReport


There's also a starboard uninstall subcommand, which can be used to remove all resources created by Starboard.

As an example let's run in the current namespace an old version of nginx that we know has vulnerabilities:

kubectl create deployment nginx --image nginx:1.16

Run the vulnerability scanner to generate vulnerability reports:

starboard scan vulnerabilityreports deployment/nginx

Behind the scenes, by default this uses Trivy in Standalone mode to identify vulnerabilities in the container images associated with the specified Deployment. Once this has been done, you can retrieve the latest vulnerability reports for this workload:

starboard get vulnerabilityreports deployment/nginx -o yaml

For a Deployment with N containers Starboard will create N instances of resources. To retrieve a vulnerability report for the specified container use the --container flag:

starboard get vulnerabilityreports deployment/nginx --container nginx -o yaml


It is possible to retrieve vulnerability reports with the kubectl get command, but it requires knowledge of Starboard implementation details. In particular, naming convention and labels and label selectors used to associate vulnerability reports with Kubernetes workloads.

$ kubectl get vulnerabilityreports -o wide
NAME                                REPOSITORY      TAG    SCANNER   AGE   CRITICAL   HIGH   MEDIUM   LOW   UNKNOWN
replicaset-nginx-6d4cf56db6-nginx   library/nginx   1.16   Trivy     41m   21         50     34       104   0

To read more about custom resources and label selectors check Custom Resource Definitions.

Moving forward, let's take the same nginx Deployment and audit its Kubernetes configuration. As you remember we've created it with the kubectl create deployment command which applies the default settings to the deployment descriptors. However, we also know that in Kubernetes the defaults are usually the least secure.

Run the scanner to audit the configuration using Polaris, which is the default configuration checker:

starboard scan configauditreports deployment/nginx

Retrieve the configuration audit report:

starboard get configauditreports deployment/nginx -o yaml


kubectl get configauditreport -o wide
NAME                          SCANNER   AGE    DANGER   WARNING   PASS
replicaset-nginx-6d4cf56db6   Polaris   155m   1        9         7

Generating HTML Reports

Once you scanned the nginx Deployment for vulnerabilities and checked its configuration you can generate an HTML report of identified risks and open it in your web browser:

starboard report deployment/nginx > nginx.deploy.html
open nginx.deploy.html

Aqua Starboard Workload Security HTML Report

What's Next?