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Database Encryption

Database Encryption

Database Encryption

By default, Coder stores external user tokens in plaintext in the database. Database Encryption allows Coder administrators to encrypt these tokens at-rest, preventing attackers with database access from using them to impersonate users.

How it works

Coder allows administrators to specify external token encryption keys. If configured, Coder will use these keys to encrypt external user tokens before storing them in the database. The encryption algorithm used is AES-256-GCM with a 32-byte key length.

Coder will use the first key provided for both encryption and decryption. If additional keys are provided, Coder will use it for decryption only. This allows administrators to rotate encryption keys without invalidating existing tokens.

The following database fields are currently encrypted:

  • user_links.oauth_access_token
  • user_links.oauth_refresh_token
  • external_auth_links.oauth_access_token
  • external_auth_links.oauth_refresh_token

Additional database fields may be encrypted in the future.

Implementation notes: each encrypted database column $C has a corresponding $C_key_id column. This column is used to determine which encryption key was used to encrypt the data. This allows Coder to rotate encryption keys without invalidating existing tokens, and provides referential integrity for encrypted data.

The $C_key_id column stores the first 7 bytes of the SHA-256 hash of the encryption key used to encrypt the data.

Encryption keys in use are stored in dbcrypt_keys. This table stores a record of all encryption keys that have been used to encrypt data. Active keys have a null revoked_key_id column, and revoked keys have a non-null revoked_key_id column. You cannot revoke a key until you have rotated all values using that key to a new key.

Enabling encryption

NOTE: Enabling encryption does not encrypt all existing data. To encrypt existing data, see rotating keys below.

  • Ensure you have a valid backup of your database. Do not skip this step. If you are using the built-in PostgreSQL database, you can run coder server postgres-builtin-url to get the connection URL.

  • Generate a 32-byte random key and base64-encode it. For example:

dd if=/dev/urandom bs=32 count=1 | base64
  • Store this key in a secure location (for example, a Kubernetes secret):
kubectl create secret generic coder-external-token-encryption-keys --from-literal=keys=<key>
  • In your Coder configuration set CODER_EXTERNAL_TOKEN_ENCRYPTION_KEYS to a comma-separated list of base64-encoded keys. For example, in your Helm values.yaml:
coder:
  env:
    [...]
    - name: CODER_EXTERNAL_TOKEN_ENCRYPTION_KEYS
      valueFrom:
        secretKeyRef:
          name: coder-external-token-encryption-keys
          key: keys
  • Restart the Coder server. The server will now encrypt all new data with the provided key.

Rotating keys

We recommend only having one active encryption key at a time normally. However, if you need to rotate keys, you can perform the following procedure:

  • Ensure you have a valid backup of your database. Do not skip this step.

  • Generate a new encryption key following the same procedure as above.

  • Add the above key to the list of external token encryption keys. The new key must appear first in the list. For example, in the Kubernetes secret created above:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
type: Opaque
metadata:
  name: coder-external-token-encryption-keys
  namespace: coder-namespace
data:
  keys: <new-key>,<old-key1>,<old-key2>,...
  • After updating the configuration, restart the Coder server. The server will now encrypt all new data with the new key, but will be able to decrypt tokens encrypted with the old key(s).

  • To re-encrypt all encrypted database fields with the new key, run coder server dbcrypt rotate. This command will re-encrypt all tokens with the specified new encryption key. We recommend performing this action during a maintenance window.

    Note: this command requires direct access to the database. If you are using the built-in PostgreSQL database, you can run coder server postgres-builtin-url to get the connection URL.

  • Once the above command completes successfully, remove the old encryption key from Coder's configuration and restart Coder once more. You can now safely delete the old key from your secret store.

Disabling encryption

To disable encryption, perform the following actions:

  • Ensure you have a valid backup of your database. Do not skip this step.

  • Stop all active coderd instances. This will prevent new encrypted data from being written, which may cause the next step to fail.

  • Run coder server dbcrypt decrypt. This command will decrypt all encrypted user tokens and revoke all active encryption keys.

    Note: for decrypt command, the equivalent environment variable for --keys is CODER_EXTERNAL_TOKEN_ENCRYPTION_DECRYPT_KEYS and not CODER_EXTERNAL_TOKEN_ENCRYPTION_KEYS. This is explicitly named differently to help prevent accidentally decrypting data.

  • Remove all external token encryption keys from Coder's configuration.

  • Start coderd. You can now safely delete the encryption keys from your secret store.

Deleting Encrypted Data

NOTE: This is a destructive operation.

To delete all encrypted data from your database, perform the following actions:

  • Ensure you have a valid backup of your database. Do not skip this step.

  • Stop all active coderd instances. This will prevent new encrypted data from being written.

  • Run coder server dbcrypt delete. This command will delete all encrypted user tokens and revoke all active encryption keys.

  • Remove all external token encryption keys from Coder's configuration.

  • Start coderd. You can now safely delete the encryption keys from your secret store.

Troubleshooting

  • If Coder detects that the data stored in the database was not encrypted with any known keys, it will refuse to start. If you are seeing this behaviour, ensure that the encryption keys provided are correct.
  • If Coder detects that the data stored in the database was encrypted with a key that is no longer active, it will refuse to start. If you are seeing this behaviour, ensure that the encryption keys provided are correct and that you have not revoked any keys that are still in use.
  • Decryption may fail if newly encrypted data is written while decryption is in progress. If this happens, ensure that all active coder instances are stopped, and retry.
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