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Version: v3.14.x

Customizing Admission Behavior

Gatekeeper is a Kubernetes admission webhook whose default configuration can be found in the gatekeeper.yaml manifest file. By default, it is a ValidatingWebhookConfiguration resource named gatekeeper-validating-webhook-configuration.

Currently the configuration specifies two webhooks: one for checking a request against the installed constraints and a second webhook for checking labels on namespace requests that would result in bypassing constraints for the namespace. The namespace-label webhook is necessary to prevent a privilege escalation where the permission to add a label to a namespace is equivalent to the ability to bypass all constraints for that namespace. You can read more about the ability to exempt namespaces by label here.

Because Kubernetes adds features with each version, if you want to know how the webhook can be configured it is best to look at the official documentation linked at the top of this section. However, two particularly important configuration options deserve special mention: timeouts and failure policy.

Timeouts allow you to configure how long the API server will wait for a response from the admission webhook before it considers the request to have failed. Note that setting the timeout longer than the overall request timeout means that the main request will time out before the webhook's failure policy is invoked, causing the request to fail.

Failure policy controls what happens when a webhook fails for whatever reason. Common failure scenarios include timeouts, a 5xx error from the server or the webhook being unavailable. You have the option to ignore errors, allowing the request through, or failing, rejecting the request. This results in a direct tradeoff between availability and enforcement.

Currently Gatekeeper is defaulting to using Ignore for the constraint requests, which means constraints will not be enforced at admission time if the webhook is down or otherwise inaccessible. This is because we cannot know the operational details of the cluster Gatekeeper is running on and how that might affect webhook uptime. For a more detailed treatment of this topic, see our docs on failing closed.

The namespace label webhook defaults to Fail, this is to help ensure that policies preventing labels that bypass the webhook from being applied are enforced. Because this webhook only gets called for namespace modification requests, the impact of downtime is mitigated, making the theoretical maximum availability less of an issue.

Because the manifest is available for customization, the webhook configuration can be tuned to meet your specific needs if they differ from the defaults.

Enable Validation of Delete Operations


Deletes are not Auditable

Once a resource is deleted, it is gone. This means that non-compliant deletes cannot be audited via Gatekeeper's audit mechanism, and increases the importance of webhook-based enforcement.

Policies Against DELETE May Not be Perfectly Enforced

Since the webhook fails open by default (as described earlier on this page), it is possible for admission requests to have imperfect enforcement, which means some non-compliant deletes may still go through despite the policy. Normally such failures of webhook enforcement could be caught by audit, but deletes are not auditable.

It is possible to improve the likelihood of enforcement by configuring the webhook to fail closed.

How to Enable Validation of Delete Operations

To enable Delete operations for the admission webhook, add "DELETE" to the list of operations in the gatekeeper-validating-webhook-configuration ValidatingWebhookConfiguration as seen in this deployment manifest of gatekeeper: here

So you have


You can now check for deletes.