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Introduction to Secrets

Kubernetes Secrets let you store and manage sensitive information, such as passwords, OAuth tokens, and ssh keys. Storing confidential information in a secret is safer and more flexible than putting it verbatim in a pod definition or in a container image.

Secrets can contain user credentials required by pods to access a database. For example, a database connection string consists of a username and password. You can store the username in a file ./username.txt and the password in a file ./password.txt on your local machine.

# Create files needed for the rest of the example
echo -n 'admin' > ./username.txt
echo -n '1f2d1e2e67df' > ./password.txt
kubectl create secret generic db-user-pass --from-file=./username.txt --from-file=./password.txt

Kubernetes secrets

There are two ways for storing secrets in Kubernetes resources:

  • Base64 decode your values and create a secret:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
      name: mysecret
    type: Opaque
      config.yaml: |-
        apiUrl: "YXBpLmNvbQo="  # base64 for
        username: YWRtaW4K      # base64 for admin
        password: cGFzc3dvcmQK  # base64 for password
  • Use string data with literal values to create secret:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
      name: mysecret
    type: Opaque
      config.yaml: |-
        apiUrl: ""
        username: admin
        password: password

Limitations of Kubernetes secrets

  1. They are not encrypted at rest
  2. By default, cluster admins can see all the secrets of all the tenants
  3. When in use (i.e. mounted as tempfs in the node that runs the pod that is using them), they can be seen by a node administrator
  4. When in use, they can be seen by anyone who has the ability to remote shell into the container
  5. Can not store Kubernetes secrets in Git repo as anyone can decode them

So to handle this case, we need some other tool to handle this.

SAAP offers two different managed solutions for consuming secrets in more secure fashion:

  1. Vault
  2. Sealed Secrets

Stakater Secrets Services

Stakater offers a complete range of services for secrets management.

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