Cryptographic Plugin Development

Cryptographic Plugin Development

This guide describes how to develop a custom cryptographic plugin for use by Barbican.

Barbican supports two storage modes for secrets: a cryptographic mode (detailed on this page), and a secret store mode. The cryptographic mode stores encrypted secrets in Barbican’s data store, utilizing a cryptographic process or appliance (such as a hardware security module (HSM)) to perform the encryption/decryption. Barbican includes a PKCS11-based interface to SafeNet HSMs.

Note that cryptographic plugins are not invoked directly from Barbican core, but rather via a secret store mode plugin adapter class, further described in The Cryptographic Plugin Adapter.

crypto Module

The barbican.plugin.crypto module contains the classes needed to implement a custom plugin. These classes include the CryptoPluginBase abstract base class which custom plugins should inherit from, as well as several Data Transfer Object (DTO) classes used to transfer data between Barbican and the plugin.

Data Transfer Objects

The DTO classes are used to wrap data that is passed from Barbican to the plugin as well as data that is returned from the plugin back to Barbican. They provide a level of isolation between the plugins and Barbican’s internal data models.

class barbican.plugin.crypto.base.KEKMetaDTO(kek_datum)

Key Encryption Key Meta DTO

Key Encryption Keys (KEKs) in Barbican are intended to represent a distinct key that is used to perform encryption on secrets for a particular project.

KEKMetaDTO objects are provided to cryptographic backends by Barbican to allow plugins to persist metadata related to the project’s KEK.

For example, a plugin that interfaces with a Hardware Security Module (HSM) may want to use a different encryption key for each project. Such a plugin could use the KEKMetaDTO object to save the key ID used for that project. Barbican will persist the KEK metadata and ensure that it is provided to the plugin every time a request from that same project is processed.

plugin_name

String attribute used by Barbican to identify the plugin that is bound to the KEK metadata. Plugins should not change this attribute.

kek_label

String attribute used to label the project’s KEK by the plugin. The value of this attribute should be meaningful to the plugin. Barbican does not use this value.

algorithm

String attribute used to identify the encryption algorithm used by the plugin. e.g. “AES”, “3DES”, etc. This value should be meaningful to the plugin. Barbican does not use this value.

mode

String attribute used to identify the algorithm mode used by the plugin. e.g. “CBC”, “GCM”, etc. This value should be meaningful to the plugin. Barbican does not use this value.

bit_length

Integer attribute used to identify the bit length of the KEK by the plugin. This value should be meaningful to the plugin. Barbican does not use this value.

plugin_meta

String attribute used to persist any additional metadata that does not fit in any other attribute. The value of this attribute is defined by the plugin. It could be used to store external system references, such as Key IDs in an HSM, URIs to an external service, or any other data that the plugin deems necessary to persist. Because this is just a plain text field, a plug in may even choose to persist data such as key value pairs in a JSON object.

class barbican.plugin.crypto.base.EncryptDTO(unencrypted)

Secret Encryption DTO

Data Transfer Object used to pass all the necessary data for the plugin to perform encryption of a secret.

Currently, this DTO only contains the raw bytes to be encrypted by the plugin, but in the future this may contain more information.

unencrypted

The secret data in Bytes to be encrypted by the plugin.

class barbican.plugin.crypto.base.DecryptDTO(encrypted)

Secret Decryption DTO

Data Transfer Object used to pass all the necessary data for the plugin to perform decryption of a secret.

Currently, this DTO only contains the data produced by the plugin during encryption, but in the future this DTO will contain more information, such as a transport key for secret wrapping back to the client.

encrypted

The data that was produced by the plugin during encryption. For some plugins this will be the actual bytes that need to be decrypted to produce the secret. In other implementations, this may just be a reference to some external system that can produce the unencrypted secret.

class barbican.plugin.crypto.base.GenerateDTO(algorithm, bit_length, mode, passphrase=None)

Secret Generation DTO

Data Transfer Object used to pass all the necessary data for the plugin to generate a secret on behalf of the user.

generation_type

String attribute used to identify the type of secret that should be generated. This will be either "symmetric" or "asymmetric".

algorithm

String attribute used to specify what type of algorithm the secret will be used for. e.g. "AES" for a "symmetric" type, or "RSA" for "asymmetric".

mode

String attribute used to specify what algorithm mode the secret will be used for. e.g. "CBC" for "AES" algorithm.

bit_length

Integer attribute used to specify the bit length of the secret. For example, this attribute could specify the key length for an encryption key to be used in AES-CBC.

class barbican.plugin.crypto.base.GenerateDTO(algorithm, bit_length, mode, passphrase=None)

Secret Generation DTO

Data Transfer Object used to pass all the necessary data for the plugin to generate a secret on behalf of the user.

generation_type

String attribute used to identify the type of secret that should be generated. This will be either "symmetric" or "asymmetric".

algorithm

String attribute used to specify what type of algorithm the secret will be used for. e.g. "AES" for a "symmetric" type, or "RSA" for "asymmetric".

mode

String attribute used to specify what algorithm mode the secret will be used for. e.g. "CBC" for "AES" algorithm.

bit_length

Integer attribute used to specify the bit length of the secret. For example, this attribute could specify the key length for an encryption key to be used in AES-CBC.

Plugin Base Class

Barbican cryptographic plugins should implement the abstract base class CryptoPluginBase. Concrete implementations of this class should be exposed to barbican using stevedore mechanisms explained in the configuration portion of this guide.

class barbican.plugin.crypto.base.CryptoPluginBase

Base class for all Crypto plugins.

Barbican requests operations by invoking the methods on an instance of the implementing class. Barbican’s plugin manager handles the life-cycle of the Data Transfer Objects (DTOs) that are passed into these methods, and persist the data that is assigned to these DTOs by the plugin.

bind_kek_metadata(kek_meta_dto)

Key Encryption Key Metadata binding function

Bind a key encryption key (KEK) metadata to the sub-system handling encryption/decryption, updating information about the key encryption key (KEK) metadata in the supplied ‘kek_metadata’ data-transfer-object instance, and then returning this instance.

This method is invoked prior to the encrypt() method above. Implementors should fill out the supplied ‘kek_meta_dto’ instance (an instance of KEKMetadata above) as needed to completely describe the kek metadata and to complete the binding process. Barbican will persist the contents of this instance once this method returns.

Parameters:kek_meta_dto – Key encryption key metadata to bind, with the ‘kek_label’ attribute guaranteed to be unique, and the and ‘plugin_name’ attribute already configured.
Returns:kek_meta_dto: Returns the specified DTO, after modifications.
decrypt(decrypt_dto, kek_meta_dto, kek_meta_extended, project_id)

Decrypt encrypted_datum in the context of the provided project.

Parameters:
  • decrypt_dto – data transfer object containing the cyphertext to be decrypted.
  • kek_meta_dto – Key encryption key metadata to use for decryption
  • kek_meta_extended – Optional per-secret KEK metadata to use for decryption.
  • project_id – Project ID associated with the encrypted datum.
Returns:

str – unencrypted byte data

encrypt(encrypt_dto, kek_meta_dto, project_id)

Encryption handler function

This method will be called by Barbican when requesting an encryption operation on a secret on behalf of a project.

Parameters:
  • encrypt_dto (EncryptDTO) – EncryptDTO instance containing the raw secret byte data to be encrypted.
  • kek_meta_dto (KEKMetaDTO) – KEKMetaDTO instance containing information about the project’s Key Encryption Key (KEK) to be used for encryption. Plugins may assume that binding via bind_kek_metadata() has already taken place before this instance is passed in.
  • project_id – Project ID associated with the unencrypted data.
Returns:

A response DTO containing the cyphertext and KEK information.

Return type:

ResponseDTO

generate_asymmetric(generate_dto, kek_meta_dto, project_id)

Create a new asymmetric key.

Parameters:
  • generate_dto – data transfer object for the record associated with this generation request. Some relevant parameters can be extracted from this object, including bit_length, algorithm and passphrase
  • kek_meta_dto – Key encryption key metadata to use for decryption
  • project_id – Project ID associated with the data.
Returns:

A tuple containing objects for private_key, public_key and optionally one for passphrase. The objects will be of type ResponseDTO. Each object containing encrypted data and kek_meta_extended, the former the resultant cypher text, the latter being optional per-secret metadata needed to decrypt (over and above the per-project metadata managed outside of the plugins)

generate_symmetric(generate_dto, kek_meta_dto, project_id)

Generate a new key.

Parameters:
  • generate_dto – data transfer object for the record associated with this generation request. Some relevant parameters can be extracted from this object, including bit_length, algorithm and mode
  • kek_meta_dto – Key encryption key metadata to use for decryption
  • project_id – Project ID associated with the data.
Returns:

An object of type ResponseDTO containing encrypted data and kek_meta_extended, the former the resultant cypher text, the latter being optional per-secret metadata needed to decrypt (over and above the per-project metadata managed outside of the plugins)

get_plugin_name()

Gets user friendly plugin name.

This plugin name is expected to be read from config file. There will be a default defined for plugin name which can be customized in specific deployment if needed.

This name needs to be unique across a deployment.

supports(type_enum, algorithm=None, bit_length=None, mode=None)

Used to determine if the plugin supports the requested operation.

Parameters:
  • type_enum – Enumeration from PluginSupportsType class
  • algorithm – String algorithm name if needed

Barbican Core Plugin Sequence

Barbican invokes a different sequence of methods on the CryptoPluginBase plugin depending on the requested action. Note that these actions are invoked via the secret store adapter class StoreCryptoAdapterPlugin which is further described in The Cryptographic Plugin Adapter.

For secret storage actions, Barbican core calls the following methods:

  1. supports() - Asks the plugin if it can support the barbican.plugin.crypto.base.PluginSupportTypes.ENCRYPT_DECRYPT operation type.
  2. bind_kek_metadata() - Allows a plugin to bind an internal key encryption key (KEK) to a project-ID, typically as a ‘label’ or reference to the actual KEK stored within the cryptographic appliance. This KEK information is stored into Barbican’s data store on behalf of the plugin, and then provided back to the plugin for subsequent calls.
  3. encrypt() - Asks the plugin to perform encryption of an unencrypted secret payload, utilizing the KEK bound to the project-ID above. Barbican core will then persist the encrypted data returned from this method for later retrieval. The name of the plugin used to perform this encryption is also persisted into Barbican core, to ensure we decrypt this secret only with this plugin.

For secret decryptions and retrievals, Barbican core will select the same plugin as was used to store the secret, and then invoke its decrypt() method, providing it both the previously-persisted encrypted secret data as well as the project-ID KEK used to encrypt the secret.

For symmetric key generation, Barbican core calls the following methods:

  1. supports() - Asks the plugin if it can support the barbican.plugin.crypto.base.PluginSupportTypes.SYMMETRIC_KEY_GENERATION operation type.
  2. bind_kek_metadata() - Same comments as for secret storage above.
  3. generate_symmetric() - Asks the plugin to both generate a symmetric key, and then encrypted it with the project-ID KEK. Barbican core persists this newly generated and encrypted secret similar to secret storage above.

For asymmetric key generation, Barbican core calls the following methods:

  1. supports() - Asks the plugin if it can support the barbican.plugin.crypto.base.PluginSupportTypes.ASYMMETRIC_KEY_GENERATION operation type.
  2. bind_kek_metadata() - Same comments as for secret storage above.
  3. generate_asymmetric() - Asks the plugin to generate and encrypt asymmetric public and private key (and optional passphrase) information, which Barbican core will persist as a container of separate encrypted secrets.
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