Secure vault files that are easy to use
The easy-vault Python package provides commands for encrypting and decrypting vault files that can be in any format. It provides for programmatic access to encrypted vault files from Python programs, so that the file itself can stay encrypted in the file system but can still be used by the program in clear text.
At first use on a particular vault file, the encryption command prompts for a vault password and stores that in the keyring service of your local system using the keyring package. Subsequent encryption and decryption of the vault file will then use the password from the keyring, avoiding any further password prompts. Programmatic access can also be done with the password from the keyring.
The encryption of the vault files is implemented using the symmetric key functionality of the cryptography package.
One use case for this package is for example the daily work with programs that need the secrets from a vault to access some server or service. For that, the program in question needs to have integrated with this package.
Another use case is testing in CI/CD systems: The encrypted vault file is stored in a repository and the password to access it is put as a secret into the CI/CD system (most CI/CD systems these days support storing secrets in a secure way). The test program uses the vault password from the CI/CD secret to get access to the vault to get to the secrets that are needed to perform the tests. One could have put the vault secrets directly into the CI/CD system, but if the vault file is also used for local work, or if the number of secrets is large or has a complex structure, it is better to have the indirection of the vault file.
The vault files stay encrypted in the file system while they are used, and are only decrypted and re-encrypted in the file system when secrets need to be updated/added/removed.
This package allows putting at rest the habit of having clear text files that contain passwords, API keys and other secrets, and allows transitioning to a secure but still easy to use approach for managing such secrets.
Why a new vault implementation: The ansible-vault command provided the functionality we needed and was originally used (except for the keyring storage which we added). However, Ansible does not support native Windows and that was a requirement. Also, the ansible-vault command requires installing the entire Ansible which is quite large. Searching Pypi for suitable vaults that a) have commands for encrypting and decrypting and b) provide programmatic access to the encrypted file, did not reveal anything suitable.
The easy-vault package is provided under the Apache Software License 2.0.
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