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KICS is 100% open source is written in Golang using Open Policy Agent (OPA).

Golang speed, simplicity and reliability made it the perfect choice for writing KICS, while Rego as a query language, was a native choice to implement security queries.

So far have written 1000+ ready-to-use queries that cover a wide range of vulnerabilities checks for AWS, GCP, Azure and other cloud providers.

High Level Architecture

KICS has a pluggable architecture with extensible pipeline of parsing IaC languages, which allows an easy integration of new IaC languages and queries.

At a very high level, KICS is composed of the following main components: a command line interface, parser, queries execution engine, IaC providers, security queries, and results writer.

  • Command Line Interface => Provides CLI input to KICS.
  • Parser => responsible for parsing input IaC files (terraform and others)
  • IaC Providers => Converts IaC language into normalized JSON
  • Queries Execution Engine => applies REGO queries against normalized JSON
  • Security Queries => pre-built REGO queries for each security and misconfiguration
  • Writer => Writes results into JSON format

Execution Flow

The sequence diagram below depicts interaction of the main KICS components:

Concurrent Scans

KICS creates multiple services, each containing a unique parser. All the services will then concurrently generate a payload and run queries on it according to its containing parser. When a vulnerability is found, it is saved inside the Storage which is shared amongst all the services.

  • Paths => create services based on types of IaC files.
  • Service => contains a unique parser and shares other resources with other services
  • Start Scan => Services will concurrently create payloads based on its parser, inspect for vulnerabilities and save them on the shared storage
  • Results => when all services have finished their execution all the results will be gathered from the storage