How to scan Docker containers using THOR – Part 2

by May 4, 2023

The first part of this blog series covers how THOR can be used to scan a Docker image. In the second part of this series, we will talk about how you can use THOR to scan running Docker containers. Now, consider this new use case: You want to check if your running Docker container was attacked by some Log4Shell exploit. To do this, we will show you how you can start THOR inside a running container!


  • Running Docker container with a shell installed (e.g. sh, bash, …)
  • THOR 🙂
    • In this example we will use Thor-Lite. However, for a real-world usecase you should consider using the full Thor version (Thor vs Thor-lite).

Running THOR in a Docker container

First, we have to find the Docker ID of the container we want to check using: docker ps.
This will list all Docker containers running on the current host.

Sidenote: The following should also work with all the other containerization platforms (e.g. podman, Kubernetes, OpenShift, etc.).

In our example, the ID is 84d1624f0083. Now we copy the THOR files to the container:

docker cp thor/. 84d1624f0083:/thor
Next, to run THOR, we need to get an interactive shell inside the container:

docker exec -it 84d1624f0083 /bin/sh

Inside the Docker container you can cd thor and start THOR: ./thor-lite-linux.

After THOR is finished you will find the following files in the Docker container:

  • {docker-id}_files_md5s.csv
  • {docker-id}_thor_{date}.html
  • {docker-id}_thor_{date}.txt

These files contain all findings of the THOR scan.

You can copy the reports back to your host by running the following on your host:

  • docker cp 84d1624f0083:/thor/dffcea1e1fe9_files_md5s.csv .
  • docker cp 84d1624f0083:/thor/dffcea1e1fe9_thor_2023-04-26_0728.html .
  • docker cp 84d1624f0083:/thor/dffcea1e1fe9_thor_2023-04-26_0728.txt .

Note: You have to replace 84d1624f0083 with our Docker ID.

Lastly, to clean up your container run the following: docker exec -it 84d1624f0083 rm -rf thor.
This will delete all files that were created in the earlier steps.

About the author:

Paul Hager

Threat Researcher & Detection Engineer @nextronsystems | @TUVienna Graduate


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