Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun, When You Share with Everyone
Nov 6, 2019 by Kathryn Lewis
Motivation: Spinnaker’s Dirty Little Secret about Secrets
Passwords and tokens (aka “secrets”) are a fact of life in software development, and operating Spinnaker involves managing configs with lots and lots of secrets. Secrets can be a challenge to manage, but tend to be less work than managing a major data breach. Leaked secrets lead to compromises in user privacy, substantial fines, losses in revenue, and damage to public trust and confidence.
More facts of life in software development are version upgrades, changing infrastructure, and the need to maintain version histories of all of these configurations. Source control systems such as Git are excellent solutions for tracking configuration changes and automatically maintaining version histories. However, storing passwords in a GitHub repository is a very dangerous practice, even if it is a private repo. That is, unless you like accidentally sharing your secrets with the entire world…
Until recently, Spinnaker hasn’t had a built-in secrets management system. As a result, users had to construct their own home-brewed solutions for sharing and versioning Spinnaker configurations, or dangerously leave those secrets in a Git repository. Typically, this home-brew solution was less than robust, and was designed as a temporary solution until they could implement a more robust security solution. But then other tasks and product features take priority, and months or years later their temporary security solution was not so temporary or secure.
Implementation Basics: The Secrets to Keeping Secrets Secret
To solve this problem, we’ve added an end-to-end Secrets Management solution to Spinnaker! Secrets can be stored in encrypted S3 buckets (available in OSS and Armory Spinnaker), or in Vault (exclusive to Armory Spinnaker). The solution is extensible, so we can easily add new secret stores – reach out to us here or on Spinnaker Slack to let us know which secret stores you would like to see added.
The implementation uses role-based access control (RBAC) for permissions, so you simply need to ensure that Halyard and the Spinnaker services are running with roles that can access your chosen secret store.
Operation: The Secret Sauce
Halyard will read in all config values from
~/.hal/config and will decrypt a secret any time it needs the actual value for a task, such as account validation. Halyard stores the value in memory or as a temporary file on disk for any secret that needs to be in file format (e.g., kubeconfig, SAML keystore files, etc.)
When it comes time to create the profiles for each service (found under
~/.hal/default/staging/), Halyard reverts back to using the encrypted syntax and cleans up temporary files. Finally, each Spinnaker service gets deployed, starts up, and decrypts the secrets found in its config files.
Yay! Celebrating Not-So-Secretly
With Armory’s Secrets Management solution, nowhere, in any configuration file, are you required to have a secret in plain text. You can now safely share and version your Spinnaker configurations for faster, more reliable, more secure deployments.
Note: This process applies to configuration secrets for Spinnaker itself (GitHub tokens, AWS keys, SAML keystores, etc.), not secrets for the applications Spinnaker is deploying.
Recently Published Posts
Welcoming 2022: Reflecting and looking forward
Nearly all cultures globally have some form of celebration marking the Winter Solstice. Common threads found in most observances of the annual event are celebration of family and friends (living and past), reflection of the past year, and some form of giving thanks for continued health and sustenance. Exiting 2021, said celebrations would seem especially […]
Read more →
Resiliency and Load distribution
Introduction When scaling a network service, there are always two concerns: resiliency and load distribution, to understand these concepts let us first understand the broader term “Redundancy”. Redundancy is the duplication of a component to increase reliability of the system, usually in the form of a backup, fail-safe, or to improve actual system performance. Resiliency […]
Read more →
CVE-2021-44228 – log4j (Log4Shell) – an analysis
Today marked a 0-day disclosure of a rather nasty vulnerability in one of the most commonly used frameworks for logging – log4j. This one is nasty on multiple levels. Note that Armory Enterprise is NOT affected by this vulnerability. The impact on this vulnerability is likely huge and is already being exploited. Additionally it can […]
Read more →