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Venafi MPL 2.0 License Community Supported Compatible with TPP 17.3+ & VaaS
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Venafi PKI Secrets Engine for HashiCorp Vault

This solution enables HashiCorp Vault users to have certificate requests fulfilled by the Venafi Trust Protection Platform or Venafi as a Service ensuring compliance with corporate security policy and providing visibility into certificate issuance enterprise wide.

Venafi Trust Protection Platform Requirements

Your certificate authority (CA) must be able to issue a certificate in under one minute. Microsoft Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS) is a popular choice. Other CA choices may have slightly different requirements.

Within Trust Protection Platform, configure these settings. For more information see the Venafi Administration Guide.

  • A user account that has an authentication token for the "Venafi Secrets Engine for HashiCorp Vault" (ID "hashicorp-vault-by-venafi") API Application as of 20.1 (or scope "certificate:manage" for 19.2 through 19.4) or has been granted WebSDK Access (deprecated)

  • A Policy folder where the user has the following permissions: View, Read, Write, Create.

  • Enterprise compliant policies applied to the folder including:

    • Subject DN values for Organizational Unit (OU), Organization (O), City/Locality (L), State/Province (ST) and Country (C).
    • CA Template that Trust Protection Platform will use to enroll general certificate requests.
    • Management Type not locked or locked to 'Enrollment'.
    • Certificate Signing Request (CSR) Generation unlocked or not locked to 'Service Generated CSR'.
    • Generate Key/CSR on Application not locked or locked to 'No'.
    • (Recommended) Disable Automatic Renewal set to 'Yes'.
    • (Recommended) Key Bit Strength set to 2048 or higher.
    • (Recommended) Domain Whitelisting policy appropriately assigned.

    NOTE: If you are using Microsoft ACDS, the CRL distribution point and Authority Information Access (AIA) URIs must start with an HTTP URI (non-default configuration). If an LDAP URI appears first in the X509v3 extensions, some applications will fail, such as NGINX ingress controllers. These applications aren't able to retrieve CRL and OCSP information.

Trust between Vault and Trust Protection Platform

The Trust Protection Platform REST API (WebSDK) must be secured with a certificate. Generally, the certificate is issued by a CA that is not publicly trusted so establishing trust is a critical part of your setup.

Two methods can be used to establish trust. Both require the trust anchor (root CA certificate) of the WebSDK certificate. If you have administrative access, you can import the root certificate into the trust store for your operating system. If you don't have administrative access, or prefer not to make changes to your system configuration, save the root certificate to a file in PEM format (e.g. /opt/venafi/bundle.pem) and reference it using the trust_bundle_file parameter whenever you create or update a PKI role in your Vault.

Venafi as a Service Requirements

If you are using Venafi as a Service, verify the following:

  • The Venafi as a Service REST API at https://api.venafi.cloud is accessible from the systems where Vault will be running.
  • You have successfully registered for a Venafi as a Service account, have been granted at least the "Resource Owner" role, and know your API key.
  • A CA Account and Issuing Template exist and have been configured with:
    • Recommended Settings values for:
      • Organizational Unit (OU)
      • Organization (O)
      • City/Locality (L)
      • State/Province (ST)
      • Country (C)
    • Issuing Rules that:
      • (Recommended) Limits Common Name and Subject Alternative Name to domains that are allowed by your organization
      • (Recommended) Restricts the Key Length to 2048 or higher
      • (Recommended) Does not allow Private Key Reuse
  • An Application exists where you are among the owners, and you know the Application name.
  • An Issuing Template is assigned to the Application, and you know its API Alias.

Setup

Before certificates can be issued, you must complete these steps to configure the Venafi secrets engine:

  1. Create the directory where your Vault server will look for plugins (e.g. /etc/vault/vault_plugins). The directory must not be a symbolic link. On macOS, for example, /etc is a link to /private/etc. To avoid errors, choose an alternative directory such as /private/etc/vault/vault_plugins.

  2. Download the latest vault-pki-backend-venafi release package for your operating system. Unzip the binary to the plugin directory. Note that the URL for the zip file, referenced below, changes as new versions of the plugin are released.

    $ wget https://github.com/Venafi/vault-pki-backend-venafi/releases/download/v0.0.1/venafi-pki-backend_v0.0.1+1_linux.zip
    $ unzip venafi-pki-backend_v0.0.1+1_linux.zip
    $ mv venafi-pki-backend /etc/vault/vault_plugins
    
  3. Update the Vault server configuration to specify the plugin directory:

    plugin_directory = "/etc/vault/vault_plugins"
    

    📌 NOTE: If plugin directory is a symbolic link, Vault responds with an error🔖. If you're configuring on a MacBook, /etc is default symlinked to /private/etc. To prevent the error from occurring, change the plugin_directory to a non-symlinked directory. For example "/private/etc/vault/vault_plugins". If you make this change, keep it in mind as you go through the remaining steps.

  4. Start your Vault using the server command.

  5. Get the SHA-256 checksum of the venafi-pki-backend plugin binary:

    $ SHA256=$(sha256sum /etc/vault/vault_plugins/venafi-pki-backend| cut -d' ' -f1)
    
  6. Register the venafi-pki-backend plugin in the Vault system catalog:

    $ vault write sys/plugins/catalog/secret/venafi-pki-backend \
        sha_256="${SHA256}" command="venafi-pki-backend"
    Success! Data written to: sys/plugins/catalog/secret/venafi-pki-backend
    

    📌 NOTE: If you get an error that says "can not execute files outside of configured plugin directory", it's probably because you didn't set the plugin directory correctly with a non-symlinked directory as mentioned earlier. Also, make sure this change is reflected when calling for the SHA-256 checksum.

  7. Enable the Venafi secrets engine:

    $ vault secrets enable -path=venafi-pki -plugin-name=venafi-pki-backend plugin
    Success! Enabled the pki-backend-venafi secrets engine at: venafi-pki/
    
  8. Configure a Venafi secret that maps a name in Vault to connection and authentication settings for enrolling certificate using Venafi. The zone is a policy folder for Trust Protection Platform or an Application name and Issuing Template API Alias (e.g. "Business App\Enterprise CIT") for Venafi as a Service. Obtain the access_token and refresh_token for Trust Protection Platform using the VCert CLI (getcred action with --client-id "hashicorp-vault-by-venafi" and --scope "certificate:manage") or the Platform's Authorize REST API method. To see other available options for the Venafi secret after it is created, use vault path-help venafi-pki/venafi/:name.

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/venafi/tpp \
        url="https://tpp.venafi.example" \
        access_token="tn1PwE1QTZorXmvnTowSyA==" \
        refresh_token="MGxV7DzNnclQi9CkJMCXCg==" \
        zone="DevOps\\HashiCorp Vault" \
        trust_bundle_file="/opt/venafi/bundle.pem"
    Success! Data written to: venafi-pki/venafi/tpp
    

    ⚠️ CAUTION: Do not create more than one Venafi secret for the same pair of tokens. Supplying a refresh_token allows the secrets engine to automatically obtain new tokens and operate without interruption whenever the access_token expires. This behavior is important to understand because it may require you to provide a new access_token and refresh_token if you need to modify the Venafi secret in the future (i.e. depending upon whether the original set of tokens has been refreshed by the secrets engine plugin). Having more than one Venafi secret for the same set of tokens would result in all but one Venafi secret being rendered inoperable when the token is refreshed.

    Venafi as a Service:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/venafi/vaas \
        apikey="xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx" \
        zone="Business App\\Enterprise CIT"
    Success! Data written to: venafi-pki/roles/vaas
    
  9. Lastly, configure a role that maps a name in Vault to a Venafi secret for enrollment. To see other available options for the role after it is created, use vault path-help venafi-pki/roles/:name.

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/roles/tpp \
        venafi_secret=tpp \
        generate_lease=true store_by=serial store_pkey=true \
        allowed_domains=example.com \
        allow_subdomains=true
    Success! Data written to: venafi-pki/roles/tpp
    

    Venafi as a Service:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/roles/vaas \
        venafi_secret=vaas \
        generate_lease=true store_by=serial store_pkey=true \
        allowed_domains=example.com \
        allow_subdomains=true
    Success! Data written to: venafi-pki/roles/vaas
    

    📌 NOTE: The ttl and max_ttl role parameters can be used specify the default and maximum allowed validity for certificate requests if the Venafi CA template supports flexible validity periods. If the CA is DigiCert, Entrust, or Microsoft with Trust Protection Platform, the issuer_hint parameter is also required for ttl functionality (e.g. issuer_hint="m" for Microsoft). When issue or sign operations include the ttl parameter it overrides the role default ttl and will be constrained by the role max_ttl.

    📌 NOTE: The zone role parameter allows multiple zones to be used with a single Venafi secret. If zone is not specified by the role, the zone specified by the Venafi secret applies.

Usage

After the Venafi secrets engine is configured and a user/machine has a Vault token with the proper permission, it can enroll certificates using Venafi.

  1. Generate a certificate by writing to the /issue endpoint with the name of the role (add the key_password parameter to get a password encrypted private key in the output):

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/issue/tpp common_name="common-name.example.com" \
        alt_names="dns-san-1.example.com,dns-san-2.example.com"
    
    Key                  Value
    ---                  -----
    lease_id             venafi-pki/issue/tpp/oLih42SCFzyjntxGc00vqmWH
    lease_duration       719h49m55s
    lease_renewable      false
    certificate          -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    certificate_chain    -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    common_name          common-name.example.com
    private_key          -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
    serial_number        1d:bc:a8:3c:00:00:00:05:5c:e8
    

    Venafi as a Service:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/issue/vaas common_name="common-name.example.com" \
        alt_names="dns-san-1.example.com,dns-san-2.example.com"
    
    Key                  Value
    ---                  -----
    lease_id             venafi-pki/issue/vaas/1WCNvXKiwboWfRRfjzlPAwEi
    lease_duration       167h59m58s
    lease_renewable      false
    certificate          -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    certificate_chain    -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    common_name          common-name.example.com
    private_key          -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
    serial_number        17:47:8b:13:90:b8:3d:87:b0:dc:b6:9e:00:2b:87:02:c9:d3:1e:8a
    
  2. Or sign a CSR from a file by writing to the /sign endpoint with the name of the role:

    Trust Protection Platform:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/sign/tpp csr=@example.req
    
    Key                  Value
    ---                  -----
    lease_id             venafi-pki/sign/tpp/tQq3QNY45e4sJMqTTI9DXEGK
    lease_duration       719h49m57s
    lease_renewable      false
    certificate          -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    certificate_chain    -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    common_name          common-name.example.com
    serial_number        1d:c4:07:9a:00:00:00:05:5c:ea
    

    Venafi as a Service:

    $ vault write venafi-pki/sign/vaas csr=@example.req
    
    Key                  Value
    ---                  -----
    lease_id             venafi-pki/sign/vaas/fF44FdMAjuCdC29w3Ff81hes
    lease_duration       167h59m58s
    lease_renewable      false
    certificate          -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    certificate_chain    -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    common_name          common-name.example.com
    serial_number        76:55:e2:14:de:c8:3f:e1:64:4a:fa:37:d4:6e:f5:ef:5e:4c:16:5b
    

Custom Fields can be set when requesting certificates from Trust Protection Platform using the custom_fields parameter (e.g. custom_fields="field1_name=valueX,field2_name=valueY,field2_name=valueZ").

API

Venafi Machine Identity Secrets Engine uses the same Vault API as the built-in PKI secrets engine. Some methods, such as those for managing certificate authorities, do not apply.

Upgrading

To upgrade to a new version of this plugin, review the release notes to understand the impact and then follow the standard procedure. The following command will trigger a plugin reload globally:

$ vault write sys/plugins/reload/backend plugin=venafi-pki-backend scope=global

Key          Value
---          -----
reload_id    d8180af4-01e0-d4d8-10ce-0daf69fbb6ed

⚠️ IMPORTANT: Every member of a Vault cluster must be running with the same version of the plugin to avoid inconsistent, unexpected, and possibly erroneous results.

License

Copyright © Venafi, Inc. All rights reserved.

This solution is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE for the full license text.

Please direct questions/comments to opensource@venafi.com.