Configure an API Gateway encryption passphrase

By default, the API Gateway configuration data is stored unencrypted. However, you can encrypt sensitive information such as passwords and private keys using an encryption passphrase. When the passphrase has been set (and the data has been encrypted with it), you must then enter the passphrase when connecting to the API Gateway with Policy Studio, or when the API Gateway is starting up, so that the encrypted data can be decrypted. You can enter an encryption passphrase at the level of an local Policy Studio project on the local file system, and at the level of a running API Gateway group instance.

All sensitive information in the API Gateway configuration data is encrypted when you set an encryption passphrase. For example, this sensitive information includes passwords that the API Gateway requires for connecting to external systems (databases, LDAP, and so on), or private keys that are not stored on a Hardware Security Module (HSM). All sensitive information is encrypted using the Password-Based Encryption (PBE) system specified by the Public-Key Cryptography Standard (PKCS#12). For more details, see Appendix B of the PKCS#12 documentation.

This topic describes how to specify an encryption passphrase for a local Policy Studio project or when connecting to an API Gateway in Policy Studio, in an API Gateway configuration file, or when the API Gateway is starting up. It also describes how to change the passphrase when it has been set initially.

Caution   It is crucial that you remember the passphrase when you change it. Failure to remember the passphrase results in the loss of encrypted data, and may prevent the API Gateway from functioning correctly.

Configure the project passphrase using projchangepass

You can use the projchangepass command to change the encryption passphrase for a Policy Studio project. This example shows how to change the project passphrase on proj1 from changeme to newpassPhrase:

projchangepass --proj=/home/user1/apiprojects/proj1 --oldpass=changeme --newpass=newpassPhrase --confirmpass=newpassPhrase

For more information on projchangepass, see the API Gateway DevOps Deployment Guide.

Configure the group passphrase using managedomain

You can use the managedomain command to change the encryption passphrase for an API Gateway group. The following example shows this using managedomain in command interpreter mode:

For more details on using managedomain, see Managedomain command reference.

Note  You must also re-encrypt Key Property Store tables after an encryption passphrase for an API Gateway group has been changed. You can do this using the kpsadmin tool. For more details, see the API Gateway Key Property Store User Guide.

Enter the passphrase when editing configuration in Policy Studio

If you have set an encryption passphrase for the API Gateway configuration data, you must enter this passphrase every time you open a configuration for editing in Policy Studio. You can specify this in the Enter Passphrase dialog, which is displayed before editing an active server configuration.

Tip  When you first open a connection to an API Gateway in Policy Studio, you specify a Password. The different roles of the Passphrase and the Password fields are as follows:
PassphraseUsed to decrypt sensitive data that has already been encrypted (for example, private keys and passwords) . Not required by default, and only needed if you have already set the encryption passphrase in Policy Studio.
PasswordUsed to authenticate to the API Gateway's management interface using HTTP basic authentication when opening a connection to a server. Required by default.

Provide the passphrase in a configuration file or at startup

For the API Gateway to read (decrypt) encrypted data from its configuration, it must be primed with the passphrase key. You can enter the passphrase directly in a configuration file, prompt for it at startup, or obtain it automatically with a script.

Note  Typically, the passphrase is only entered directly in the file if the server must be started as a Windows service or UNIX daemon. In this case, the administrator cannot enter the passphrase manually when the server is starting. To avoid this, you must enter the passphrase in the configuration file.

Enter the Node Manager passphrase in a configuration file

You can enter a passphrase directly in the Node Manager configuration file. Open the following file in your API Gateway installation:

This file contains values for general system settings, such as the server name and trace level, and also (if required) the passphrase key that the Node Manager uses to decrypt its own configuration data.

You should specify the passphrase as the value of the secret attribute as follows:

Enter the API Gateway passphrase in a configuration file

You can also enter the passphrase for API Gateway instances created using the managedomain script. To do this, enter the secret attribute in the group.xml file for your API Gateway instance. For example:

Prompt for the passphrase at server startup

If you do not wish to enter the passphrase directly in the Node Manager or API Gateway instance configuration file, and do not need to start as a Windows service or UNIX daemon, you can configure the Node Manager or API Gateway to prompt the administrator for the passphrase on the command line when starting up. To do this, enter the "(prompt)" special value for the secret attribute as follows:

To configure this for the Node Manager, update your nodemanager.xml file. To configure for an API Gateway group, update the relevant group.xml file.

Provide the passphrase automatically at startup using a script

Alternatively, you can use a script to automatically provide the passphrase when the API Gateway server starts up. Perform the following steps:

  1. Open the following file in your API Gateway installation:
  2. Add the following to your service.xml file:
Note  The passphraseExec option is only used if it is present and the secret option (described in the previous sections) is not used.
  1. Create the passphrase script in the specified location. For example, on Windows, the contents of the passwd.bat script is as follows:
  2. For example, on Linux/UNIX, the contents of the script is as follows:
Note  The script must be secured by the operating system file permissions so that it is only accessible by, and can only be invoked by the API Gateway. The command should write the password to standard output.

The following files should also be protected:

  • ../groups/[GROUP]/[INSTANCE]/conf/service.xml
  • ../system/conf/nodemanager.xml
  • ../skel/service.xml

Promotion between environments

When you promote and deploy passphrase-protected configuration between environments (for example, from testing to production), the passphrase for the target configuration (production) can be different from the passphrase in the source configuration (testing).

If you are using a different passphrase in each environment, when the deployment takes place, you can specify the correct passphrase for the target configuration. For more details, see Deploy configuration in Policy Studio.

For more details on promoting configuration between environments, see the API Gateway DevOps Deployment Guide.

Further information

For more details on supported security features, see the API Management Security Guide.

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