Falco – Open Source Cloud Runtime Security Suite

Falco Cloud Security
Falco Cloud Security
Falco is an Open Source Cloud-native Runtime Security Suite.
The Falco Project, originally created by Sysdig, is an incubating CNCF open source cloud native runtime security tool. Falco makes it easy to consume kernel events, and enrich those events with information from Kubernetes and the rest of the cloud native stack.
Falco has a rich set of security rules specifically built for Kubernetes, Linux, and cloud-native. If a rule is violated in a system, Falco will send an alert notifying the user of the violation and its severity.

What is Falco?

The Falco Project is an open source runtime security tool originally built by Sysdig, Inc. Falco was donated to the CNCF and is now a CNCF incubating project.

What does Falco do?

Falco uses system calls to secure and monitor a system, by:
  • Parsing the Linux system calls from the kernel at runtime
  • Asserting the stream against a powerful rules engine
  • Alerting when a rule is violated

What does Falco check for?

Falco ships with a default set of rules that check the kernel for unusual behavior such as:
  • Privilege escalation using privileged containers
  • Namespace changes using tools like setns
  • Read/Writes to well-known directories such as /etc, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, etc
  • Creating symlinks
  • Ownership and Mode changes
  • Unexpected network connections or socket mutations
  • Spawned processes using execve
  • Executing shell binaries such as sh, bash, csh, zsh, etc
  • Executing SSH binaries such as ssh, scp, sftp, etc
  • Mutating Linux coreutils executables
  • Mutating login binaries
  • Mutating shadowutil or passwd executables such as shadowconfig, pwck, chpasswd, getpasswd, change, useradd, etc, and others.

Installing Falco

If you would like to run Falco in production please adhere to the official installation guide.
          Tool                       Link                                         Note
  • Helm          Chart Repository      The Falco community offers regular helm chart releases.
  • Minikube          Tutorial               The Falco driver has been baked into minikube for easy deployment.
  • Kind                   Tutorial              Running Falco with kind requires a driver on the host system.
  • GKE                   Tutorial              We suggest using the eBPF driver for running Falco on GKE.


Falco is designed to be extensible such that it can be built into cloud-native applications and infrastructure.
Falco has a gRPC endpoint and an API defined in protobuf. The Falco Project supports various SDKs for this endpoint.


Language    Repository
   Go                  client-go
  Rust               client-rs
  Python          client-py

What can Falco detect?

Falco can detect and alert on any behavior that involves making Linux system calls. Falco alerts can be triggered by the use of specific system calls, their arguments, and by properties of the calling process.
For example, Falco can easily detect incidents including but not limited to:
  • A shell is running inside a container or pod in Kubernetes.
  • A container is running in privileged mode, or is mounting a sensitive path, such as /proc, from the host.
  • A server process is spawning a child process of an unexpected type.
  • Unexpected read of a sensitive file, such as /etc/shadow.
  • A non-device file is written to /dev.
  • A standard system binary, such as ls, is making an outbound network connection.
  • A privileged pod is started in a Kubernetes cluster.
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