Configure encryption passphrase

Encrypt API Gateway configuration data using an encryption passphrase.

5 minute read

By default, the API Gateway configuration data is stored unencrypted. However, you can encrypt sensitive information such as passwords and private keys using an encryption passphrase. When the passphrase has been set (and the data has been encrypted with it), you must then enter the passphrase when connecting to API Gateway with Policy Studio, or when API Gateway is starting up, so that the encrypted data can be decrypted. You can enter an encryption passphrase at the level of a local Policy Studio project on the local file system, and at the level of a running API Gateway group instance.

All sensitive information in the API Gateway configuration data is encrypted when you set an encryption passphrase. For example, this sensitive information includes passwords that API Gateway requires for connecting to external systems (databases, LDAP, and so on), or private keys that are not stored on a Hardware Security Module (HSM). All sensitive information is encrypted using the Password-Based Encryption (PBE) system specified by the Public-Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS#12).

This section describes how to specify an encryption passphrase for a local Policy Studio project or when connecting to an API Gateway in Policy Studio, in an API Gateway configuration file, or when API Gateway is starting up. It also describes how to change the passphrase when it has been set initially.

Configure the project passphrase using projchangepass

You can use the projchangepass command to change the encryption passphrase for a Policy Studio project. This example shows how to change the project passphrase on proj1 from changeme to newpassPhrase:

projchangepass --proj=/home/user1/apiprojects/proj1 --oldpass=changeme --newpass=newpassPhrase --confirmpass=newpassPhrase

Configure the group passphrase using managedomain

You can use the managedomain command to change the encryption passphrase for an API Gateway group. The following example shows this using managedomain in command interpreter mode:

> change_passphrase group Group1 old_passphrase "" new_passphrase "12345"

For more details on using managedomain, see Managedomain command reference.

You must also re-encrypt Key Property Store tables after changing an encryption passphrase for an API Gateway group. You can do this using the kpsadmin tool.

Configure the Node Manager passphrase using managedomain

You can use the managedomain command to change the encryption passphrase for a Node Manager. The following example shows this using managedomain in command interpreter mode:

> edit_host old_passphrase "" new_passphrase "12345"

For more details on using managedomain, see Managedomain command reference.

Enter the passphrase when editing configuration in Policy Studio

If you have set an encryption passphrase for API Gateway configuration data, you must enter this passphrase every time you open a configuration for editing in Policy Studio. You can specify this in the Enter Passphrase dialog, which is displayed before editing an active server configuration.

When you first open a connection to an API Gateway in Policy Studio, you specify a Password. The different roles of the Passphrase and the Password fields are as follows:

Passphrase: Used to decrypt sensitive data that has already been encrypted (for example, private keys and passwords) . Not required by default, and only needed if you have already set the encryption passphrase in Policy Studio.

Password: Used to authenticate to the API Gateway’s management interface using HTTP basic authentication when opening a connection to a server. Required by default.

Prompt for passphrase at server startup or via a startup script

For API Gateway to read (decrypt) encrypted data from its configuration, it must be primed with the passphrase key. You can prompt for it at startup, or obtain it automatically with a script.

Prompt for the passphrase at server startup

If you do not need to start as a Linux daemon, you can configure the Node Manager or API Gateway to prompt the administrator for the passphrase on the command line when starting up. To do this, enter the "(prompt)" special value for the pvalue attribute as follows:

pvalue="(prompt)"

To configure this for the Node Manager, update your nodemanager.xml file.

INSTALL_DIR/apigateway/system/conf/nodemanager.xml

To configure for an API Gateway group, update the relevant group.xml file.

INSTALL_DIR/apigateway/groups/GROUP/conf/group.xml

Provide the passphrase automatically at startup using a script

Alternatively, you can use a script to automatically provide the passphrase when the API Gateway server starts up. Perform the following steps:

  1. Open the following file in your API Gateway installation:

    INSTALL_DIR/apigateway/groups/GROUP/INSTANCE/conf/service.xml
    
  2. Add the following to your service.xml file:

    <SystemSettings tracelevel="INFO"
           passphraseExec="$VINSTDIR/../passwd.sh"
           serviceID="${serviceID}" groupID="${groupID}"
           serviceName="${serviceName}" groupName="${groupName}"
          domainID="${domainID}" title="API Gateway"/>
    

    The passphraseExec option is only used if it is present and the pvalue option (described in the previous sections) is not used.

  3. Create the passphrase script in the specified location.

    For example, the contents of the passwd.sh script is as follows:

    #!/bin/sh
    
    echo "(prompt)"
    
    

    The script must be secured by the operating system file permissions so that it is only accessible by, and can only be invoked by, the API Gateway. The command should write the password to standard output.

    The following files should also be protected:

    • ../system/conf/nodemanager.xml
    • ../skel/service.xml

Promotion between environments

When you promote and deploy passphrase-protected configuration between environments (for example, from testing to production), the passphrase for the target configuration (production) can be different from the passphrase in the source configuration (testing).

If you are using a different passphrase in each environment, when the deployment takes place, you can specify the correct passphrase for the target configuration. For more details, see Deploy configuration in Policy Studio.