A GPG-based secret storing/sharing library
Harpocrates (Ancient Greek: Ἁρποκράτης) was the god of silence, secrets and confidentiality.
Harpo is GPG-based secret storage/sharing library.
It is aims to be a convenient wrapper around GPG and tries to solve the following problems:
Storing secrets in a repository in a secure manner
Providing a group-based access to the stored secrets
Providing an easy way to re-encrypt secrets
It was inspired by blackbox by StackExchange.
Initialize harpo in a current directory:
harpo system init
This will create
.harpo directory that will contain your secrets and all required metadata.
Domain — is a ‘directory’ for secrets. To be honest, it is a directory that contains GPG-encrypted files, plus some metadata.
Let’s create one and name it
harpo domain create secrets
User is a Harpo’s word for ‘recipient’. A User must have a GPG key attached to it so that Harpo will use it then to encrypt secrets.
The process of adding a user consists of two steps: add a key, create a user associated with this key:
1. add a key
This guide assumes that you already have your GPG key in your default keyring. Let’s export your GPG public key and add it to Harpo:
gpg --export --armor your-key-fingerprint | harpo key create -
2. create a user
The following command will create a user named
alice associated with your GPG public key:
harpo user create alice your-key-fingerprint
Let’s verify by running
harpo user list. The output should look like:
+--------+------------------------------------------+ | name | key_fingerprint | |--------+------------------------------------------| | alice | A8EE4ED8DDFC3EFFD26EC0042477DBC294CF0AF0 | +--------+------------------------------------------+
Create Group (optional)
While you can skip this step if you have just one or two users, it’s just a lot more convenient to organize your users into groups if you have many of them.
Let’s create a group and add Alice to it:
harpo group create admins harpo group members add admins alice
You can verify with
harpo group list that will return you a flat list:
admins developers users
You can also list a groups table with members using
harpo group list --members:
+--------+-----------+ | name | members | |--------+-----------| | admins | ['alice'] | +--------+-----------+
Grant access to Domain
Now we have to tell Harpo that our user/group should be able to manage secrets in Domain
harpo domain allow secrets %admins
% character! Just like in sudoers, this character tells the program to treat
admins as a group.
If you want to grant access just to a user, not a group:
harpo domain allow secrets alice
You can verify this with
harpo domain info secrets:
+---------+----------+-------------+--------+----------------------+-----------+--------------+ | name | parent | allow | deny | inherit_recipients | comment | recipients | |---------+----------+-------------+--------+----------------------+-----------+--------------| | secrets | None | ['%admins'] |  | True | None | ['alice'] | +---------+----------+-------------+--------+----------------------+-----------+--------------+
allow you can see users and groups that have access to this domain.
In column recipients you can see a final set of recipients for this domain. These users will be the recipients of a GPG-encrypted secret that Harpo will create.
Create a secret
Finally we can encrypt something.
You have two slightly different ways of creating a secret using Harpo CLI. Let’s go through them:
1. pass secret value as an argument
harpo secret create [OPTIONS] DOMAIN_NAME SECRET_NAME SECRET_VALUE
harpo secret create secrets foo bar
2. interactive editor (beta)
You also have an option to launch your favorite editor!
harpo secret edit secrets foo
VIM users: There is a known issue with vim when backup files are enabled - Harpo won’t save your edits at all.
You can disable backup files with
Read a secret
This is pretty straightforward:
harpo secret read secrets foo
Domain — is a logical group of secrets. You can think of domain as a directory that contains secrets and other domains.
Domains have following properties:
name — the name of a Domain
children — each Domain can have any number of subdomains, i.e. children. By default all permissions are inherited from the parent to children. This property is not stored in metadata but instead populated in runtime.
parent — Every Domain has a parent except the root (top level) Domains. Root Domains has no parents.
allow — list of Groups and Users that have access to this Domain.
deny — list of Groups and Users that are explicitly denied to become a recipients for secrets in this Domain.
recipients — a set of Users that are derived from the list of
(allow - deny)that have access to this Domain. This property is not stored in metadata but instead populated in runtime.
inherit_recipients — controls how a given Domain should inherit recipients from its parent. Currently only two modes are available: True and False. Inheritance can be disabled during Domain creation from CLI by adding
Storage & metadata
Domains are mapped to filesystem as directories and can be found in
Every Domain also has an associated metadata in
Key is one of the simplest entities in Harpo. It’s just that: a GPG public key that is stored in the Harpo’s keyring.
fingerprint — GPG key fingerprint; the main property of a Key
Storage & metadata
Harpo’s keyring can be found in
Keys don’t use any metadata.
In Harpo prior 1.0 users were represented by GPG keys only. Harpo 1.0 adds a new separate entity for users.
This being said, Users are still mapped to Keys as 1-to-1, but this probably will change in the future (allowing a single User to have multiple GPG keys, for example).
Currently User is just a named mapping to a Key.
name — the name of a User
key_fingerprint — a GPG key fingerprint of a key that is associated with this User.
Storage & metadata
Users metadata can be found in
Group — is a set of Users. Currently groups can’t contain other groups.
name — the name of a Group
members — list of members
Storage & metadata
Groups metadata can be found in
Secret — is a GPG-encrypted data inside Domain.
To encrypt a secret Harpo needs to know the list of recipients. Harpo gets this information form Domain that holds this secret.
With one notable exception…
Shared Secrets are secrets with the name that ends with
Secrets like this are special in a way that they are encrypted with not only with keys belonging to recipients of a Domain that holds these secrets, but also with keys of recipients from this Domain’s subdomains and other Domains from the same level of hierarchy.
This requires an example.
Let’s say we have the following Domain hierarchy:
secrets (allow: alice) ├── bar │ ├── quux (bob) --no-inherit-recipients │ │ └── credit-cards │ └── secret.shared └── baz (jane) └── passwords
secrets — root Domain
bar — a child Domain of
bar; it has a Secret called
quux — a child Domain of
quux; it has a Secret called
credit-cards; it was created with
baz — another child Domain of
secrets; it has a Secret called
allowed users are specified inside parenthesis
Q: So, who will be able to decrypt
A: Alice, Bob and Jane. All three Users will be able to decrypt it because it’s a shared Secret. Harpo will use the following keys to encrypt it:
Alice — because she has access to the root domain and
barinherits recipients from its parent
Bob — because shared secrets are encrypted with keys from subdomains
Jane — because shared secrets must be encrypted with keys from the same level of hierarchy (bar and baz are on the same level)
Q: OK, how about
A: Alice and Jane. Bob has no access to this secret because it’s not shared
and he only has access to his own subdomain
A: Only Bob has access to this secret. Even though Alice has access to the root domain
Harpo won’t use her key to encrpypt
quux doesn’t inherit recipients.
Secrets don’t demonstrate any interesting properties, really.
name — name of a Secret
Storage & Metadata
Secrets are stored as GPG encrypted files in
For Bash, add this to ~/.bashrc:
eval "$(_HARPO_COMPLETE=bash_source harpo)"
For Zsh, add this to ~/.zshrc:
eval "$(_HARPO_COMPLETE=zsh_source harpo)"
For Fish, add this to ~/.config/fish/completions/harpo.fish:
eval (env _HARPO_COMPLETE=fish_source harpo)
Open a new shell to enable completion. Or run the eval command directly in your current shell to enable it temporarily.
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