Default and Local Rules Files

Falco provides default rules, but you can add your own

Falco comes with a default rules file that is loaded if no specific configuration is provided. However, that can be completely customized in several ways, depending on how Falco is installed. There are several ways to specify the location of your custom rules, download them, and keep them up to date.

The configuration file

The default configuration file, /etc/falco/falco.yaml makes Falco load rules from the /etc/falco/falco_rules.yaml file followed by any custom rules located in the /etc/falco/rules.d directory. This configuration is governed by the rules_file key:

  - /etc/falco/falco_rules.yaml
  - /etc/falco/falco_rules.local.yaml
  - /etc/falco/rules.d

Changing these configuration entries will affect the location and loading order of the rules files.

The command line

If you are running Falco directly from the command line, you can use the -r switch to add as many rules files as needed. e.g.:

# falco -r /path/to/my/rules1.yaml -r /path/to/my/rules2.yaml


The falcoctl tool provides functionality to download and update rules files distributed as OCI artifacts. The install command of the falcoctl tool will download rules files to a configurable directory (by default, that is /etc/falco). For instance, to install a specific version of the default rules file in /etc/falco you can run the following commands:

# falcoctl index add falcosecurity
# falcoctl artifact install falco-rules:1.0.0

Falcoctl is available as a standalone tool, included in Falco packages and container images, automatically installed as a systemd unit or deployed as an init container via the Helm chart.

Rules installed via the Helm chart

If you install the Helm chart, at least version 3.0.0 with:

helm install falco

Falco, by default, will load the latest rules file that is compatible with your Falco version and keep it up to date automatically via falcoctl. These are published on GitHub Packages.

Use the rules embedded in the Falco image

The Falco image ships with a snapshot of the latest version of the official Falco rules. If you wish to use that without downloading anything at runtime, you can install Falco with:

helm install falco \
    --set falcoctl.artifact.install.enabled=false \
    --set falcoctl.artifact.follow.enabled=false

Add custom rules with a configmap

You can always add the customRules value to add your own custom rules in a configmap. For instance, if we create a file as described in the documentation and then add it to our one of the above command lines with:

-f custom_rules.yaml

It will be loaded and configured in our Falco instance.

Only use rules supplied via configmap

If you only want to use the rules that you add via configmap, discarding all automated updates and default rules shipping in the image you have to remove the falco_rules.yaml entry from the Falco configuration. Assuming you have your custom rules in custom_rules.yaml:

helm install falco -f ./custom_rules.yaml \
    --set "falco.rules_file={/etc/falco/falco_rules.local.yaml,/etc/falco/rules.d}" \
    --set falcoctl.artifact.install.enabled=false \
    --set falcoctl.artifact.follow.enabled=false