Version 0.21.0

Running Falco

Falco is meant to be run as a service. But for experimentation and designing/testing rulesets, you will likely want to run it manually from the command-line.

Running Falco as a service

Once you’ve installed Falco as a package, you can start the service:

service falco start

The default configuration logs events to syslog.

Reloading configuration

As of Falco >= 0.13.0, on SIGHUP Falco will fully restart its main loop, closing the device for the kernel module and re-reading all config, etc. from scratch. This can be useful if you want to change the set of rules files, config, etc. on the fly without having to restart Falco.

Running Falco in a container

The current version of Falco is available as the falcosecurity/falco:0.20.0 container. Here’s an example command to run the container locally on Linux:

docker run \
  --interactive \
  --privileged \
  --tty \
  --name falco \
  --volume /var/run/docker.sock:/host/var/run/docker.sock \
  --volume /dev:/host/dev \
  --volume /proc:/host/proc:ro \
  --volume /boot:/host/boot:ro \
  --volume /lib/modules:/host/lib/modules:ro \
  --volume /usr:/host/usr:ro \

By default, starting the container will attempt to load and/or build the Falco kernel module. If you already know that the kernel module is loaded and want to skip this step, you can set the environment variable SYSDIG_SKIP_LOAD to 1:

docker run ... -e SYSDIG_SKIP_LOAD=1 ... falcosecurity/falco:0.20.0

Running Falco in a Kind cluster

The easiest way to run Falco on a Kind cluster is as follows:

  1. Create a configuration file. For example: kind-config.yaml

  2. Add the following to the file:

kind: Cluster
- role: control-plane
  - hostPath: /dev
    containerPath: /dev
  1. Create the cluster by specifying the configuration file:
kind create cluster --config=./kind-config.yaml
  1. Install Falco in your Kubernetes cluster with kind.

Running Falco manually

If you’d like to run Falco by hand, here’s the full usage description for falco:

Usage: falco [options]

 -h, --help                    Print this page
 -c                            Configuration file (default /mnt/sf_mstemm/work/src/falco/falco.yaml, /etc/falco/falco.yaml)
 -A                            Monitor all events, including those with EF_DROP_FALCO flag.
 -b, --print-base64            Print data buffers in base64. This is useful for encoding
                               binary data that needs to be used over media designed to
 --cri <path>                  Path to CRI socket for container metadata
                               Use the specified socket to fetch data from a CRI-compatible runtime
 -d, --daemon                  Run as a daemon
 -D <pattern>                  Disable any rules matching the regex <pattern>. Can be specified multiple times.
                               Can not be specified with -t.
 -e <events_file>              Read the events from <events_file> (in .scap format for sinsp events, or jsonl for
                               k8s audit events) instead of tapping into live.
 -k <url>, --k8s-api=<url>
                               Enable Kubernetes support by connecting to the API server
                               specified as argument. E.g. "http://admin:password@".
                               The API server can also be specified via the environment variable
 -K <bt_file> | <cert_file>:<key_file[#password]>[:<ca_cert_file>], --k8s-api-cert=<bt_file> | <cert_file>:<key_file[#password]>[:<ca_cert_file>]
                               Use the provided files names to authenticate user and (optionally) verify the K8S API
                               server identity.
                               Each entry must specify full (absolute, or relative to the current directory) path
                               to the respective file.
                               Private key password is optional (needed only if key is password protected).
                               CA certificate is optional. For all files, only PEM file format is supported.
                               Specifying CA certificate only is obsoleted - when single entry is provided
                               for this option, it will be interpreted as the name of a file containing bearer token.
                               Note that the format of this command-line option prohibits use of files whose names contain
                               ':' or '#' characters in the file name.
 -L                            Show the name and description of all rules and exit.
 -l <rule>                     Show the name and description of the rule with name <rule> and exit.
 --list [<source>]             List all defined fields. If <source> is provided, only list those fields for
                               the source <source>. Current values for <source> are "syscall", "k8s_audit"
 -m <url[,marathon_url]>, --mesos-api=<url[,marathon_url]>
                               Enable Mesos support by connecting to the API server
                               specified as argument. E.g. "http://admin:password@".
                               Marathon url is optional and defaults to Mesos address, port 8080.
                               The API servers can also be specified via the environment variable
 -M <num_seconds>              Stop collecting after <num_seconds> reached.
 -N                            When used with --list, only print field names.
 -o, --option <key>=<val>      Set the value of option <key> to <val>. Overrides values in configuration file.
                               <key> can be a two-part <key>.<subkey>
 -p <output_format>, --print=<output_format>
                               Add additional information to each Falco notification's output.
                               With -pc or -pcontainer will use a container-friendly format.
                               With -pk or -pkubernetes will use a kubernetes-friendly format.
                               With -pm or -pmesos will use a mesos-friendly format.
                               Additionally, specifying -pc/-pk/-pm will change the interpretation
                               of in rule output fields
                               See the examples section below for more info.
 -P, --pidfile <pid_file>      When run as a daemon, write pid to specified file
 -r <rules_file>               Rules file/directory (defaults to value set in configuration file,
                               or /etc/falco_rules.yaml). Can be specified multiple times to read
                               from multiple files/directories.
 -s <stats_file>               If specified, write statistics related to falco's reading/processing of events
                               to this file. (Only useful in live mode).
 --stats_interval <msec>       When using -s <stats_file>, write statistics every <msec> ms.
                               (This uses signals, so don't recommend intervals below 200 ms)
                               defaults to 5000 (5 seconds)
 -S <len>, --snaplen=<len>
                  		   Capture the first <len> bytes of each I/O buffer.
                   		   By default, the first 80 bytes are captured. Use this
                   		   option with caution, it can generate huge trace files.
 --support                     Print support information including version, rules files used, etc.
                               and exit.
 -T <tag>                      Disable any rules with a tag=<tag>. Can be specified multiple times.
                               Can not be specified with -t.
 -t <tag>                      Only run those rules with a tag=<tag>. Can be specified multiple times.
                               Can not be specified with -T/-D.
 -U,--unbuffered               Turn off output buffering to configured outputs. This causes every
                               single line emitted by Falco to be flushed, which generates higher CPU
                               usage but is useful when piping those outputs into another process
                               or into a script.
 -V,--validate <rules_file>    Read the contents of the specified rules(s) file and exit
                               Can be specified multiple times to validate multiple files.
 -v                            Verbose output.
 --version                     Print version number.