debops.hashicorp security considerations

Role security guidelines

Because the debops.hashicorp role can be used to install binary Go applications on production systems, it was designed to check and validate the archives used for application deployment against a known Trust Path. This document explains the steps taken by the role to authenticate and verify the installed software.

HashiCorp applications in Debian Software Repository

The Debian Go Packaging Team maintains source and binary packages of selected HashiCorp applications in the Debian Software Repository. The Debian packages for different applications should be the preferred installation method when they are readily available on the Debian Stable release.

The debops.hashicorp role is written in the belief that the verified and authenticated access to the upstream versions of HashiCorp applications, even though installed using binary packages, can still be useful, for example to provide secure installation path to the software not packaged in Debian.

Software sources

The HashiCorp company publishes the source code of each application on GitHub, in the hashicorp organization. Each release is tagged using git tags. Each tag is signed by the HashiCorp OpenPGP key.

The process that HashiCorp uses to build binary Go packages from the sources on GitHub and deploy them on their release page is currently unpublished.

It is unknown if the HashiCorp application builds are reproducible and can be independently verified.

Each released version of an application is published on the HashiCorp release page. The applications are published as versioned .zip archives, each archive containing one or more Go binaries. Each archive file is hashed using SHA256 algorithm. Hashes of all provided files are stored in a separate file which is signed by the HashiCorp OpenPGP key.

HashiCorp OpenPGP key

The HashiCorp Security Policy page contains information about the OpenPGP key used to sign the application releases. The OpenPGP key fingerprint of the key used by HashiCorp is:

C874 011F 0AB4 0511 0D02 1055 3436 5D94 72D7 468F

The HashiCorp OpenPGP key is published on the website, on the hashicorp account. The key is tracked by several other users of the site.

The HashiCorp OpenPGP key is published in the Ubuntu keyserver and can be imported from there using the gpg command:

user@host:~$ gpg --keyserver hkp:// \
                 --recv-key C874011F0AB405110D02105534365D9472D7468F

Software installation procedure

The steps outlined below describe the method used by the debops.hashicorp role to verify and install the HashiCorp applications selected by the user or another Ansible role:

  • The debops.hashicorp Ansible role creates a separate, unprivileged system group and UNIX user account, by default both named hashicorp. The account does not provide shell access and uses /usr/sbin/nologin shell by default.

    Additionally, several directories owned by the new user account are created to provide location to unpack the verified archives in preparation for the installation.

  • The hashicorp user account imports the HashiCorp OpenPGP key from the OpenPGP keyserver.

  • The hashicorp user account downloads the necessary files from the HashiCorp release page over the HTTPS protocol. These files include: binary archive files, files containing SHA256 hashes of the provided files, files containing OpenPGP signatures of the hash files.

  • The hashicorp user account verifies the signature of the SHA256 hash file against the HashiCorp OpenPGP key imported prior.

  • If the signature verification passed, the hashicorp user compares the SHA 256 hashes provided in the signed file against the downloaded binary archives.

  • If the hash verification was successful, the hashicorp user account unpacks the binary archives of the HashiCorp applications to separate directories created prior.

  • The root user account installs the unpacked application binaries to the specified directory (by default /usr/local/bin) with root:root owner and group. Additional files required by the Consul Web UI are copied to specified web root directory (by default /srv/www/consul/sites/public/) when the Consul Web UI is enabled.

All of the downloaded and unpacked files are left intact to allow for idempotent operation and verification.