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[1/4] docs: document how to pass secret data to QEMU

Message ID 20210514173110.1397741-2-berrange@redhat.com
State New
Headers show
Series docs: add user facing docs for secret passing and authorization controls | expand

Commit Message

Daniel P. Berrangé May 14, 2021, 5:31 p.m. UTC
Signed-off-by: Daniel P. Berrangé <berrange@redhat.com>
---
 docs/system/index.rst   |   1 +
 docs/system/secrets.rst | 162 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 2 files changed, 163 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 docs/system/secrets.rst
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Patch

diff --git a/docs/system/index.rst b/docs/system/index.rst
index b05af716a9..6aa2f8c05c 100644
--- a/docs/system/index.rst
+++ b/docs/system/index.rst
@@ -30,6 +30,7 @@  Contents:
    guest-loader
    vnc-security
    tls
+   secrets
    gdb
    managed-startup
    cpu-hotplug
diff --git a/docs/system/secrets.rst b/docs/system/secrets.rst
new file mode 100644
index 0000000000..4a177369b6
--- /dev/null
+++ b/docs/system/secrets.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,162 @@ 
+.. _secret data:
+
+Providing secret data to QEMU
+-----------------------------
+
+There are a variety of objects in QEMU which require secret data to be provided
+by the administrator or management application. For example, network block
+devices often require a password, LUKS block devices require a passphrase to
+unlock key material, remote desktop services require an access password.
+QEMU has a general purpose mechanism for providing secret data to QEMU in a
+secure manner, using the ``secret`` object type.
+
+At startup this can be done using the ``-object secret,...`` command line
+argument. At runtime this can be done using the ``object_add`` QMP / HMP
+monitor commands. The examples that follow will illustrate use of ``-object``
+command lines, but they all apply equivalentely in QMP / HMP. When creating
+a ``secret`` object it must be given a unique ID string. This ID is then
+used to identify the object when configuring the thing which need the data.
+
+
+INSECURE: Passing secrets as clear text inline
+~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+
+**The following should never be done in a production environment or on a
+multi-user host. Command line arguments are usually visible in the process
+listings and are often collected in log files by system monitoring agents
+or bug reporting tools. QMP/HMP commands and their arguments are also often
+logged and attached to bug reports. This all risks compromising secrets that
+are passed inline.**
+
+For the convenience of people debugging / developing with QEMU, it is possible
+to pass secret data inline on the command line.
+
+::
+
+   -object secret,id=secvnc0,data=87539319
+
+
+Again it is possible to provide the data in base64 encoded format, which is
+particularly useful if the data contains binary characters that would clash
+with argument parsing.
+
+::
+
+   -object secret,id=secvnc0,data=ODc1MzkzMTk=,format=base64
+
+
+**Note: base64 encoding does not provide any security benefit.**
+
+Passing secrets as clear text via a file
+~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+
+The simplest approach to providing data securely is to use a file to store
+the secret:
+
+::
+
+   -object secret,id=secvnc0,file=vnc-password.txt
+
+
+In this example the file ``vnc-password.txt`` contains the plain text secret
+data. It is important to note that the contents of the file are treated as an
+opaque blob. The entire raw file contents is used as the value, thus it is
+important not to mistakenly add any trailing newline character in the file if
+this newline is not intended to be part of the secret data.
+
+In some cases it might be more convenient to pass the secret data in base64
+format and have QEMU decode to get the raw bytes before use:
+
+::
+
+   -object secret,id=sec0,file=vnc-password.txt,format=base64
+
+
+The file should generally be given mode ``0600`` or ``0400`` permissions, and
+have its user/group ownership set to the same account that the QEMU process
+will be launched under. If using mandatory access control such as SELinux, then
+the file should be labelled to only grant access to the specific QEMU process
+that needs access. This will prevent other processes/users from compromising the
+secret data.
+
+
+Passing secrets as cipher text inline
+~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+
+To address the insecurity of passing secrets inline as clear text, it is
+possible to configure a second secret as an AES key to use for decrypting
+the data.
+
+The secret used as the AES key must always be configured using the file based
+storage mechanism:
+
+::
+
+   -object secret,id=secmaster,file=masterkey.data,format=base64
+
+
+In this case the ``masterkey.data`` file would be initialized with 32
+cryptographically secure random bytes, which are then base64 encoded.
+The contents of this file will by used as an AES-256 key to encrypt the
+real secret that can now be safely passed to QEMU inline as cipher text
+
+::
+
+   -object secret,id=secvnc0,keyid=secmaster,data=BASE64-CIPHERTEXT,iv=BASE64-IV,format=base64
+
+
+In this example ``BASE64-CIPHERTEXT`` is the result of AES-256-CBC encrypting
+the secret with ``masterkey.data`` and then base64 encoding the ciphertext.
+The ``BASE64-IV`` data is 16 random bytes which have been base64 encrypted.
+These bytes are used as the initialization vector for the AES-256-CBC value.
+
+A single master key can be used to encrypt all subsequent secrets, **but it is
+critical that a different initialization vector is used for every secret**.
+
+Passing secrets via the Linux keyring
+~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+
+The earlier mechanisms described are platform agnostic. If using QEMU on a Linux
+host, it is further possible to pass secrets to QEMU using the Linux keyring:
+
+::
+
+   -object secret_keyring,id=secvnc0,serial=1729
+
+
+This instructs QEMU to load data from the Linux keyring secret identified by
+the serial number ``1729``. It is possible to combine use of the keyring with
+other features mentioned earlier such as base64 encoding:
+
+::
+
+   -object secret_keyring,id=secvnc0,serial=1729,format=base64
+
+
+and also encryption with a master key:
+
+::
+
+   -object secret_keyring,id=secvnc0,keyid=secmaster,serial=1729,iv=BASE64-IV
+
+
+Best practice
+~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+
+It is recommended for production deployments to use a master key secret, and
+then pass all subsequent inline secrets encrypted with the master key.
+
+Each QEMU instance must have a distinct master key, and that must be generated
+from a cryptographically secure random data source. The master key should be
+deleted immediately upon QEMU shutdown. If passing the master key as a file,
+the key file must have access control rules applied that restrict access to
+just the one QEMU process that is intended to use it. Alternatively the Linux
+keyring can be used to pass the master key to QEMU.
+
+The secrets for individual QEMU device backends must all then be encrypted
+with this master key.
+
+This procedure helps ensure that the individual secrets for QEMU backends will
+not be compromised, even if ``-object`` CLI args or ``object_add`` monitor
+commands are collected in log files and attached to public bug support tickets.
+The only item that needs strongly protecting is the master key file.