Open source, cloud-native security and policy project

cnspec is a cloud-native solution to assess the security and compliance of your business-critical infrastructure. Using policy as code, cnspec finds vulnerabilities and misconfigurations on all systems in your infrastructure including: public and private cloud environments, Kubernetes clusters, containers, container registries, servers and endpoints, SaaS products, infrastructure as code, APIs, and more.

cnspec is a powerful policy engine built on cnquery, and comes configured with default security policies that run right out of the box. It’s both fast and simple to use!

cnspec scan local

Sample output


✓ Pass:  Disable Media Sharing
✓ Pass:  Do not enable the "root" account
✓ Pass:  Disable Bluetooth Sharing
✕ Fail:  Enable security auditing
✓ Pass:  Enable Firewall
✕ Fail:  Ensure Firewall is configured to log
✓ Pass:  Ensure nfs server is not running.
✓ Pass:  Disable Content Caching
✕ Fail:  Ensure AirDrop Is Disabled
✓ Pass:  Control access to audit records


Target:     user-macbook-pro
Score:      A    80/100     (100% completed)
✓ Passed:   ███████████ 70% (21)
✕ Failed:   ███ 17% (5)
! Errors:   ██ 13% (4)
» Skipped:  0% (0)

A  80  macOS Security Baseline by Mondoo


Install cnspec with our installation script:

bash -c "$(curl -sSL"

If you prefer a package, find it on GitHub releases.

Run a scan

Use the cnspec scan subcommand to check local and remote targets for misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

Local scan

This command evaluates the security of your local machine:

cnspec scan local

Remote scan targets

You can also specify remote targets to scan. For example:

# to scan a docker image:
cnspec scan docker image ubuntu:22.04

# scan public ECR registry
aws ecr-public get-login-password --region us-east-1 | docker login --username AWS --password-stdin
cnspec scan docker image

# to scan an aws account using the local AWS config
cnspec scan aws

# to scan a kubernetes cluster via your local kubectl config
cnspec scan k8s

# to scan a GitHub repository
export GITHUB_TOKEN=<personal_access_token>
cnspec scan github repo <org/repo> 


cnspec policies are built on the concept of policy as code. cnspec comes with default security policies configured for all supported targets. The default policies are available via the cnspec-policies GitHub repo.

Custom policies

A cnspec policy is simply a YAML file that lets you express any security rule or best practice for your fleet. If you’re interested in writing your own policies or contributing policies back to the cnspec community, the best place to start is to look at one of our example policies. You can find them in the cnspec-policies GitHub repo.

To run a policy you have developed locally:

cnspec scan local --policy-bundle policy/examples/example.mql.yaml

cnspec interactive shell

cnspec also provides an interactive shell to explore assertions. It helps you understand the assertions that policies use, and write your own as well. It’s also a great way to interact with both local and remote targets on the fly.

Local system shell

cnspec shell local
 .--. ,-.,-. .--. .---.  .--.  .--.™
'  ..': ,. :`._-.': .; `' '_.''  ..'
`.__.':_;:_;`.__.': ._.'`.__.'`.__.'
   mondoo™        : :

The shell provides a help command to get help on the resources that power cnspec. Running help without any arguments lists all of the available resources and their fields. You can also run help <resource> to get more information on a specific resource. For example:

cnquery> help ports
ports:              TCP/IP ports on the system
  list []port:      TCP/IP ports on the system
  listening []port: TCP/IP ports on the system

The shell uses auto-complete, which makes it easy to explore. Once inside the shell, you can enter MQL assertions like this:

> ports.listening.none( port == 23 )

To clear the terminal, type clear.

To exit, either hit CTRL + D or type exit.

Scale cnspec across your fleet

The easiest way to scale cnspec across your fleet is to have all of your infrastructure pull policies from a central location. A simple approach is to sign up for a free account on Mondoo Platform. The platform is designed for multi-tenancy and provides a secure, private environment that keeps data about your assets in your own account. With the platform, all assets can report on policies and you can define custom exceptions for your fleet.

To use cnspec with the Mondoo Platform, run:

cnspec auth login

Once authenticated, you can scan any target:

cnspec scan <target>

cnspec returns the results from the scan to STDOUT and to the platform.

Upload policies to your account

With an account on Mondoo Platform, you can upload policies:

cnspec policy upload mypolicy.mql.yaml

Where to go from here

There are so many things cnspec can do, from testing your entire fleet for vulnerabilities to gathering information and creating reports for auditors. With its custom policies, cnspec can scan any component you care about!

Explore our:

Community and support

Our goal is to secure all layers of your infrastructure. If you need support, or want to get involved with the development of cnspec, join our community today and let’s grow it together!


See our Development Documentation for information on building and contributing to cnspec.


  • Copyright: 2018-2022, Mondoo Inc
  • License: MPLv2
  • Authors: Christoph Hartmann, Dominik Richter


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