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Secure, easy secrets.

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# cloudchain: Easy, Secure Secrets

cloudchain is designed to make it easy to store and retrieve secrets using AWS. cloudchain relies on the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) [Key Management Service][1] (KMS) to securely store and manage access to encryption keys, and stores the encrypted secret in a [DynamoDB][2] table.

There are three steps in the process. First, cloudchain retrieves an encryption key from KMS and uses it to encrypt the plain text secret. The boto3 library used returns a dictionary with a “Ciphertext” entry containing the encrypted key. cloudchain then base64 encodes the encrypted key into a string, and saves that string to a DynamoDB table named, by default, “safedb”.

## Setup

Install with pip:

pip install cloudchain

A new encryption key should be created in KMS. Using the console makes this easy, and sets up permissions to the key using IAM users or Roles. IAM users should be given permission individually, while instances launching in AWS should be identified by a role.

A new DynamoDB table should be created as well. Run this command using the AWS CLI tools:

aws dynamodb create-table –table-name safedb –attribute-definitions AttributeName=Service,AttributeType=S AttributeName=Username,AttributeType=S –key-schema AttributeName=Service,KeyType=HASH AttributeName=Username,KeyType=RANGE –provisioned-throughput ReadCapacityUnits=1,WriteCapacityUnits=1

This will create the DynamoDB table with two attributes: Service and Username. cloudchain assumes that the combination of a service and a username will require a unique secret. The first time a secret is written to the table the third “Secret” attribute is created.

## Configuration

The cloudchain cli, cchain, looks for a configuration file at ~/.cchainrc. This should be a standard Python ConfigParser compatible file with the following format:

[dynamo] region_name = us-east-1 endpoint_url = tablename = safedb

[IAMKMS] keyalias = alias/key

The “keyalias” should be the name of the KMS encryption key created during the setup, prefixed by “alias/”. The “endpoint_url” should point at the closest HTTPS endpoint, or at localhost if using a local development environment.

## Import cloudchain as a Module

Both the unit tests and the cchain cli import After importing, cloudchain expects four variables to be set:

  • region_name

  • endpoint_url

  • tablename

  • keyalias

Reasonable defaults are mentioned in the configuration section above, but the keyalias must be unique.

After importing, cloudchain can be called on to encrypt and decrypt secrets:

To Encrypt:

cloudchain.savecreds(args[‘service’], args[‘user’], args[‘save’])

To Decrypt: cloudchain.readcreds(args[‘service’], args[‘user’])


  • service = The service name the username and secret are associated with

  • user = The username

  • save = The unencrypted secret to encrypt

## Command Line Use

The command line script supports five arguments:

-h, --help

show this help message and exit

-u USER, --user USER

User name

-e SERVICE, --service SERVICE

Service or application

-s SAVE, --save SAVE

Save password to the safe

-r, --read

Read password from the safe

  • The –save and –read arguments are mutually exclusive, and cannot be used at the same time.

  • –save expects the unencrypted secret as an argument, and requires both –user and –service flags.

  • –user expects the username as an argument.

  • –service expects the service name as an argument.

  • –read requires no arguments, and requires both –user and –service flags.

### Examples

To save a secret:

cchain -u testuser –service testservice –save testsecreet

To retrieve a secret:

cchain -u testuser –service testservice –read

[1]: [2]:

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