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Version: 1.13

Context aware policies

Developers can create policies that fetch information from a Kubernetes cluster at run time. These are context aware policies. Context aware policies can determine whether an AdmissionRequest is acceptable using information from resources deployed in the cluster.


Context aware policies are only available in Kubewarden versions ≥ v1.6.0.

Resources a policy can access in the cluster is controlled by the policy server's Service Account. A cluster administrator controls what a policy can access via Kubernetes RBAC rules. Context aware policies have only read access to the requested resources.

For security reasons, only ClusterAdmissionPolicy policies can fetch information from the Kubernetes cluster. This is because AdmissionPolicy resources can be deployed by unprivileged users. If a context aware policy is deployed as an AdmissionPolicy all attempts to access Kubernetes resources are blocked and reported to the cluster administrator.

By default, all the cluster resources are blocked. A Kubewarden administrator defines which Kubernetes resources each context aware policy is allowed to read. This is done in the ClusterAdmissionPolicy definition using the field contextAwareResources .

The following example deploys a policy that requires access to the Deployment and Pod resources:

kind: ClusterAdmissionPolicy
name: context-aware-policy
namespace: default
policyServer: default
module: "registry://"
settings: {}
- apiVersion: "apps/v1"
kind: "deployment"
- apiVersion: "v1"
kind: "pod"
- apiGroups: ["apps"]
apiVersions: ["v1"]
resources: ["deployment"]
mutating: false

Once deployed, this policy can read the data of the deployment and pod resources.

Policy authors provide lists of Kubernetes resources for their context aware policy. This is done by annotating the policy. Kubewarden administrators view policy metadata using the kwctl inspect command. They can get a list of resources the policy needs access to. An administrator uses this list to populate the ClusterAdmissionPolicy definition.


To prevent system abuse, Kubewarden administrators must review the resources the policy will access.

For example, a policy evaluating ingress objects would have good reasons to read the Ingress resources defined in the cluster. The same policy can't justify having access to Secret resources.

Policies should have the least access needed to function correctly.


Kubernetes resources are identified by apiVersion and kind.

Usually, apiVersion is a string in the format <api>/<version>. Resources from the core API group (Pod, Service, and others) should not define the group name, <api>. They should only define the <version> (for example, v1).

For a core resource, the first will not work, the second will.

- apiVersion: "core/v1"
kind: "pod"
- apiVersion: "v1"
kind: "pod"

All other Kubernetes resources need the full definition: <api>/<version>.

Further readings

More detailed information about context aware policies can be found in this section of our reference documentation.