WildFly Elytron

WildFly Elytron

WildFly Encrypted Expression Support

With the release of WildFly 23 the WildFly Elytron project and it’s integration now adds support for encrypted expressions within the management model, this post will describe the steps to quickly get started using this new feature.


The CredentialStore functionality provided by WildFly Elytron provides a mechanism for the secure storage of credentials that can be cross referenced by WildFly’s management model to avoid storing the credentials directly in the configuration.

Using the credential store however leaves us with two remaining problems:

  • How to protect the secret of the credential store.

  • How to protect other configuration values.

Within WildFly in addition to specifying a clear text password to unlock the credential store an administrator can configure the server to run an external command to obtain the password or the administrator can MASK the password. The issue with the masked password support however is this uses password based encryption using a well know password publicly available in open source projects.

The encrypted expression support added to WildFly solves both of these problems. Firstly by adding support for loading SecretKey instances from the credential store including a new clear store. Secondly by adding support for values contained in the model to be encrypted and dynamically decrypted using the stored keys.

The first part of this blog post will illustrate the commands to get started with encrypted expressions using an automatically generated SecretKey. The second part of this post will illustrate how an encrypted expression can be used to protect a second credential store which in turn will have a SecretKey added and enabled for use with expression encryption.

Initial Encrypted Expression Support

Starting with a clean and running WildFly 23 (or later) installation, the examples in this post will make use of the jboss-cli to configure the server.

Before we begin it is worth noting that by default the CLI will cache all executed commands in it’s history, as these examples are going to be encrypting clear text passwords we should disable history for our session.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] history --disable

First we will add a new credential store which will be automatically be populated with a dynamically SecretKey and stored under the alias key.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/secret-key-credential-store=initial:add( \
    relative-to=jboss.server.config.dir, \
{"outcome" => "success"}

This will create a new credential store initial.cs in the configuration directory of your application server installation. If a key is lost we do not have the ability to recover previously encrypted expressions so be sure to backup the credential store or export the key and store it safely.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/secret-key-credential-store=initial:export-secret-key(\
    "outcome" => "success",
    "result" => {"key" => "RUxZAUuMVPg8wefEp0KTvGJfRrmwWwGIql2px7MKAbwV3gW3bg=="}

This credential store is not protected by it’s own password so filesystem permissions should be used to ensure it is only accessible by the application server process.

Now that we have a generated secret key in a credential store we can activate the resource responsible for handling encrypted expressions.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/expression=encryption:add( \
    resolvers=[{name=initial-resolver, \
                credential-store=initial, \
{"outcome" => "success"}

Support for encrypted expressions is now active, we can now encrypt a clear text value and convert it to an expression.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/expression=encryption:create-expression( \
    resolver=initial-resolver, clear-text=MyPassword)
    "outcome" => "success",
    "result" => {"expression" => \

The expression returned here can be used on any attribute in other subsystems which supports expressions. The read-resource-description operation can be used on a resource to identify if it’s attributes support expressions.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/dir-context=*:read-resource-description
    "outcome" => "success",
    "result" => [{
        "address" => [
            ("subsystem" => "elytron"),
            ("dir-context" => "*")
                "properties" => {
                    "type" => OBJECT,
                    "description" => "The additional connection properties for the DirContext.",

                   "expressions-allowed" => true,


Where an attribute specifies expressions-allowed is set to true these encrypted expressions can be used.

Second Credential Store

Now we have a password converted to an encrypted expression we can define a new credential store using this password and we can also add a SecretKey to the second store.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/credential-store=main:add( \
    relative-to=jboss.server.config.dir, \
    path=main.cs, \
    credential-reference= \
        {clear-text="${ENC::initial-resolver:RUxZAUMQEH6CP3xXyAqYzqsC3oNayyeGH32wsdAZ8VLkkxaEmWc=}"}, \
{"outcome" => "success"}

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/credential-store=main:generate-secret-key( \
{"outcome" => "success"}

A second resolver can now be added to the expression=resolver resource, we can also make this new resolver a default.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/expression=encryption:list-add(\
    name=resolvers, \
    value={ \
        name=main-resolver, \
        credential-store=main, \


[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/expression=encryption:write-attribute( \
    name=default-resolver, \


[standalone@localhost:9990 /] :reload


Finally we can use this new resolver to create an expression.

[standalone@localhost:9990 /] /subsystem=elytron/expression=encryption:create-expression( \
    "outcome" => "success",
    "result" => { \
        "expression" => "${ENC::RUxZAUMQLRoRLS2PYwFgxXlFTNvTaaI5GXO7qkY4W7UHCwGgUl9Vr4R1BKgm+SKfb4DCwuHf}

As we defined a default-resolver this was omitted in the create-expression operation, additionally the name of the resolver is not included in the resulting expression.

XML Configuration

The commands executed in this post have resulted in the following resources being defined in the elytron subsystem.

    <credential-store name="main" relative-to="jboss.server.config.dir" path="main.cs" create="true">
    <secret-key-credential-store name="initial" relative-to="jboss.server.config.dir" path="initial.cs"/>
<expression-resolver default-resolver="main-resolver">
    <resolver name="initial-resolver" credential-store="initial" secret-key="key"/>
    <resolver name="main-resolver" credential-store="main" secret-key="main-key"/>

Further Reading

This blog post has illustrated the use of this new feature using a specific scenario, further information is available in the WildFly documentation including information using the stand alone command line tooling.