WildFly Elytron

WildFly Elytron

SSH Authentication with Git Persistence

When using a standalone WildFly server, it is currently possible to manage your configuration file history using a git repository. While previously it was only possible to connect to HTTP git servers, it is now possible to establish a connection with SSH servers as well.

In order to connect to the SSH git repository, you will have to use an Elytron configuration file to set up SSH credentials. This blog will describe how to generate SSH keys and add them as credentials in a wildfly-config.xml file and how to start the standalone server with an SSH git repository to manage your configuration file history.

Generating SSH keys using the Elytron Tool

Elytron offers a way to generate and store private keys securely in a credential store. We can use the Elytron tool scripts found in your JBOSS home to do so. For this example, we will be creating a new credential store and generating an RSA key.

First, we must create the credential store:

[$JBOSS_HOME]$ ./bin/elytron-tool.sh credential-store --create --location=cs_example.cs --password Elytron

This command creates a credential store in the file cs_example.cs and secures the credential store with the password Elytron. Note the file cs_example.cs does not need to exist before running this command to create the credential store.

Next, we generate a key pair to store in the credential store:

[$JBOSS_HOME]$ ./bin/elytron-tool.sh credential-store --location=cs_example.cs --password Elytron --generate-key-pair example --algorithm RSA --size 3072

This command generates an RSA key pair credential of size 3072 bytes and stores it under the alias example in the credential store we created.

Finally, we can print our public key with the following command:

[JBOSS_HOME]$ ./bin/elytron-tool.sh credential-store --location=cs_example.cs --password Elytron --export-key-pair-public-key example
ssh-rsa
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

If you already have an SSH key pair, it is possible to import the key into a credential store. See the Credential Store Documentation for more information

The wildfly-config.xml configuration

Once we have our key pair credential in a credential store, we can reference it from our wildfly-config.xml file as follows:

<configuration>
  <authentication-client xmlns="urn:elytron:client:1.6">

     <credential-stores>
        <credential-store name="store1">
           <protection-parameter-credentials>
              <clear-password password="Elytron"/>
           </protection-parameter-credentials>
           <attributes>
              <attribute name="keyStoreType" value="JCEKS"/>
                <attribute name="location" value="cs_example.cs"/>
           </attributes>
        </credential-store>
     </credential-stores>

     <authentication-rules>
        <rule use-configuration="example-config"/>
     </authentication-rules>

     <authentication-configurations>
        <configuration name="example-config">
           <credentials>
              <credential-store-reference store="store1" alias="example" clear-text="Elytron"/>
           </credentials>
        </configuration>
     </authentication-configurations>

  </authentication-client>
</configuration>

This configuration defines a new credential store from the file we created. It then references the alias example (which stores the RSA key pair we generated) to be used as credentials.

Generating SSH keys using the OpenSSH command line tool

Alternatively, one may use the OpenSSH command line tool to generate their SSH keys. The algorithms supported by Elytron are: RSA, DSA, and ECDSA. For example, we can generate an ECDSA key of size 256 and encrypted with the passphrase “secret” as follows:

[~/.ssh]$ ssh-keygen -t ecdsa -b 256
Generating public/private ecdsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/user/.ssh/id_ecdsa):
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): secret
Enter same passphrase again: secret
Your identification has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/id_ecdsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/id_ecdsa.pub.

For more information on how to generate OpenSSH keys see: OpenSSH Documentation

The wildfly-config.xml configuration

If you already have SSH keys generated, you can add them as credentials a couple of ways:

Key Pair Credential

One way is to specify your keys directly in the wildfly-config.xml using a key-pair credential as follows:

<configuration>
  <authentication-client xmlns="urn:elytron:client:1.6">

     <authentication-rules>
        <rule use-configuration="example"/>
     </authentication-rules>

     <authentication-configurations>
        <configuration name="example">
           <credentials>
              <key-pair>
                 <openssh-private-key pem="-----BEGIN OPENSSH PRIVATE KEY-----
b3BlbnNzaC1rZXktdjEAAAAACmFlczI1Ni1jdHIAAAAGYmNyeXB0AAAAGAAAABDaZzGpGV
922xmrL+bMHioPAAAAEAAAAAEAAABoAAAAE2VjZHNhLXNoYTItbmlzdHAyNTYAAAAIbmlz
dHAyNTYAAABBBIMTU1m6pmpnSTZ2k/cbKnxXkRpXUmWwqN1SSNLpRswGsUhmLG2H21br1Z
lEHRiRn6zQmA4YCtCw2hLuz8M8WVoAAADAQk+bMNWFfaI4Ej1AQdlLl6v4RDa2HGjDS3V4
39h0pOx4Ix7YZKydTN4SPkYRt78CNK0AhhtKsWo2lVNwyfh8/6SeqowhgCG9MJYW8yRR1R
3DX/eQTx6MV/gSSRLDTpcVWUY0jrBGpMaEvylKoNcabiEo44flkIYlG6E/YtFXsmXsoBsj
nFcjvmfE7Lzyin5Fowwpbqj9f0XOARu9wsUzeyJVAwT7+YCU3mWJ3dnO1bOxK4TuLsxD6j
RB7bJemsfr
-----END OPENSSH PRIVATE KEY-----">
                    <clear-password password="secret"/>
                 </openssh-private-key>
              </key-pair>
           </credentials>
        </configuration>
     </authentication-configurations>
  </authentication-client>
</configuration>

This configuration shows how to specify keys which are in OpenSSH format. In this example, we specify the passphrase secret that is required to decrypt the key as a clear-password type, but we could have also used a masked-password or a credential-store-reference.

Elytron also supports keys in PKCS8 format, but they must not be encrypted with a passphrase.

SSH credential

The other way to add existing keys as credentials is to specify the location and file name containing your private keys using a ssh-credential as follows:

<configuration>
  <authentication-client xmlns="urn:elytron:client:1.6">

     <authentication-rules>
        <rule use-configuration="example"/>
     </authentication-rules>

     <authentication-configurations>
        <configuration name="example">
           <credentials>
              <ssh-credential ssh-directory="/user/home/example/.ssh" private-key-file="id_test_ecdsa" known-hosts-file="known_hosts_test">
                 <clear-password password="secret"/>
              </ssh-credential>
           </credentials>
        </configuration>
     </authentication-configurations>
  </authentication-client>
</configuration>
  • The ssh-directory attribute specifies the location of the key and the known hosts file.

  • The private-key-file attribute specifies the name of the file containing your private key.

  • The known-hosts-file attribute specifies the name of the file containing the known SSH hosts.

This key was encrypted with the passphrase secret and so we specify a clear-password to be able to decrypt it, but again we could have also used a masked-password or a credential-store-reference.

It is also possible to specify both a key-pair credential and ssh-credential at the same time if you would like to specify your private key using a key-pair but your known_hosts file is not in the default [user.home]/.ssh location and you need to use the ssh-credential to specify its location.

For more information on the key-pair credential and ssh-credential check out the Elytron Authentication Client Documentation

Connecting to a git repo

Once we have added our credentials in a wildfly-config.xml file, we can connect to the remote SSH git repo. To connect, we use the SSH url of this repo and specify the following options when starting the standalone WildFly server:

[JBOSS_HOME]$ ./bin/standalone.sh --git-repo=ssh:giturl.com/repo --git-auth=file:///path/to/wildfly-config.xml
  • The --git-repo option specifies the uri of the git repo we would like to connect to.

  • The --git-auth option specifies the location of the wildfly-config file containing your credentials.

And all done! We should be able to successfully start up our standalone server and your configuration file history will be managed by the repository we connected to. For more information on git persistence, check out: