Docker and JFrog Partner to Further Secure Docker Hub and Remove Millions of Imageless Repos with Malicious Links

Like any large platform on the internet (such as GitHub, YouTube, GCP, AWS, Azure, and Reddit), Docker Hub, known for its functionality and collaborative environment, can become a target for large-scale malware and spam campaigns. Today, security researchers at JFrog announced that they identified millions of spam repositories on Docker Hub without images that have malicious links embedded in the repository descriptions/metadata. To be clear, no malicious container images were discovered by JFrog. Rather, these were pages buried in the web interface of Docker Hub that a user would have to discover and click on to be at any risk. We thank our partner JFrog for this report, and Docker has deleted all reported repositories. Docker also has a [email protected] mailbox, which is monitored by the Security team. All malicious repositories are removed once validated.

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The JFrog report highlights methods employed by bad actors, such as using fake URL shorteners and Google’s open redirect vulnerabilities to mask their malicious intent. These attacks are not simple to detect — many are not malware but simple links, for example, and wouldn’t be detectable except by humans or flagged as malicious by security tools. 

JFrog identified millions of “imageless” repositories on Docker Hub. These repositories, devoid of actual Docker images, serve merely as fronts for distributing malware or phishing attacks. Approximately 3 million repositories were found to contain no substantive content, just misleading documentation intended to lure users to harmful websites. The investment in maintaining Hub is enormous on many fronts.

These repositories are not high-traffic repositories and would not be highlighted within Hub. The below repository is an example highlighted in JFRog’s blog. Since there is not an image in the repository, there will not be any pulls.

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An image would be displayed below with a corresponding tag. These repositories are empty.

Docker jfrog security screenshot 2


Docker is committed to security and has made substantial investments this past year, demonstrating our commitment to our customers. We have recently completed our SOC 2 Type 2 audit and ISO 27001 certification review, and we are waiting on certification. Both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 demonstrate Docker’s commitment to Customer Trust and securing our products. 

We urge all Docker users to use trusted content. Docker Hub users should remain vigilant, verify the credibility of repositories before use, and report any suspicious activities. If you have discovered a security vulnerability in one of Docker’s products or services, we encourage you to report it responsibly to [email protected]. Read our Vulnerability Disclosure Policy to learn more.

Docker is committed to collaborating with security experts like JFrog and the community to ensure that Docker Hub remains a safe and robust platform for developers around the globe. 


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