Authentication

This document defines how authentication is provided during execution of a build.

The build system supports two types of authentication, using Kubernetes’ first-class Secret types:

  • kubernetes.io/basic-auth
  • kubernetes.io/ssh-auth

Secrets of these types can be made available to the Build by attaching them to the ServiceAccount as which it runs.

Exposing credentials to the build

In their native form, these secrets are unsuitable for consumption by Git and Docker. For Git, they need to be turned into (some form of) .gitconfig. For Docker, they need to be turned into a ~/.docker/config.json file. Also, while each of these supports has multiple credentials for multiple domains, those credentials typically need to be blended into a single canonical keyring.

To solve this, before the Source step, all builds execute a credential initialization process that accesses each of its secrets and aggregates them into their respective files in $HOME.

SSH authentication (Git)

  1. Define a Secret containing your SSH private key:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
    metadata:
      name: ssh-key
      annotations:
        build.knative.dev/git-0: https://github.com # Described below
    type: kubernetes.io/ssh-auth
    data:
      ssh-privatekey: <base64 encoded>
      # This is non-standard, but its use is encouraged to make this more secure.
      known_hosts: <base64 encoded>

    build.knative.dev/git-0 in the example above specifies which web address these credentials belong to. See Guiding Credential Selection below for more information.

    1. Generate the value of ssh-privatekey by copying the value of (for example) cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa | base64.

    2. Copy the value of cat ~/.ssh/known_hosts | base64 to the known_hosts field.

    3. Next, direct a ServiceAccount to use this Secret:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: ServiceAccount
    metadata:
      name: build-bot
    secrets:
      - name: ssh-key
  2. Then use that ServiceAccount in your Build:

    apiVersion: build.knative.dev/v1alpha1
    kind: Build
    metadata:
      name: build-with-ssh-auth
    spec:
      serviceAccountName: build-bot
      steps:
      ...
    1. Execute the build:
    kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml --filename serviceaccount.yaml --filename build.yaml

When the build executes, before steps execute, a ~/.ssh/config will be generated containing the key configured in the Secret. This key is then used to authenticate with the Git service.

Basic authentication (Git)

  1. Define a Secret containing the username and password that the build should use to authenticate to a Git repository:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
    metadata:
      name: basic-user-pass
      annotations:
        build.knative.dev/git-0: https://github.com # Described below
    type: kubernetes.io/basic-auth
    stringData:
      username: <username>
      password: <password>

    build.knative.dev/git-0 in the example above specifies which web address these credentials belong to. See Guiding Credential Selection below for more information.

    1. Next, direct a ServiceAccount to use this Secret:
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: ServiceAccount
    metadata:
      name: build-bot
    secrets:
      - name: basic-user-pass
  2. Use that ServiceAccount in your Build:

    apiVersion: build.knative.dev/v1alpha1
    kind: Build
    metadata:
      name: build-with-basic-auth
    spec:
      serviceAccountName: build-bot
      steps:
      ...
    1. Execute the build:
    kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml --filename serviceaccount.yaml --filename build.yaml

When this build executes, before steps execute, a ~/.gitconfig will be generated containing the credentials configured in the Secret, and these credentials are then used to authenticate with the Git repository.

Basic authentication (Docker)

  1. Define a Secret containing the username and password that the build should use to authenticate to a Docker registry:

    apiVersion: v1
    kind: Secret
    metadata:
      name: basic-user-pass
      annotations:
        build.knative.dev/docker-0: https://gcr.io # Described below
    type: kubernetes.io/basic-auth
    stringData:
      username: <username>
      password: <password>

    build.knative.dev/docker-0 in the example above specifies which web address these credentials belong to. See Guiding Credential Selection below for more information.

    1. Direct a ServiceAccount to use this Secret:
    apiVersion: v1
    kind: ServiceAccount
    metadata:
      name: build-bot
    secrets:
      - name: basic-user-pass
  2. Use that ServiceAccount in your Build:

    apiVersion: build.knative.dev/v1alpha1
    kind: Build
    metadata:
      name: build-with-basic-auth
    spec:
      serviceAccountName: build-bot
      steps:
      ...
    1. Execute the build:
    kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml --filename serviceaccount.yaml --filename build.yaml

When this build executes, before steps execute, a ~/.docker/config.json will be generated containing the credentials configured in the Secret, and these credentials are then used to authenticate with the Docker registry.

Kubernetes’s Docker registry’s secret

Kubernetes defines two types of secrets for Docker registries : kubernetes.io/dockercfg and kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson. Knative supports those secrets in addition to the one described above.

  1. Define a Secret from a Docker client configuration file, as documented in Pull an Image from a Private Registry
   kubectl create secret generic regcred \
    --from-file=.dockerconfigjson=<path/to/.docker/config.json> \
    --type=kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson
  1. Direct a ServiceAccount to use this Secret:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: ServiceAccount
   metadata:
     name: build-bot
   secrets:
     - name: regcred
  1. Use that ServiceAccount in your Build:
   apiVersion: build.knative.dev/v1alpha1
   kind: Build
   metadata:
     name: build-with-basic-auth
   spec:
     serviceAccountName: build-bot
     steps:
     ...
  1. Execute the build:
   kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml --filename serviceaccount.yaml --filename build.yaml

When this build executes, before steps execute, a ~/.docker/config.json will be generated containing the credentials configured in the Secret, and these credentials are then used to authenticate with the Docker registry.

If both kubernetes.io/* and knative flavored basic authentication secret are provided, knative will merge the credentials from those two ; knative flavored credentials taking precedence over kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson (or kubernetes.io/dockercfg) ones.

Guiding credential selection

A build might require many different types of authentication. For instance, a build might require access to multiple private Git repositories, and access to many private Docker repositories. You can use annotations to guide which secret to use to authenticate to different resources, for example:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
metadata:
  annotations:
    build.knative.dev/git-0: https://github.com
    build.knative.dev/git-1: https://gitlab.com
    build.knative.dev/docker-0: https://gcr.io
type: kubernetes.io/basic-auth
stringData:
  username: <cleartext non-encoded>
  password: <cleartext non-encoded>

This describes a “Basic Auth” (username and password) secret that should be used to access Git repos at github.com and gitlab.com, as well as Docker repositories at gcr.io.

Similarly, for SSH:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
metadata:
  annotations:
    build.knative.dev/git-0: github.com
type: kubernetes.io/ssh-auth
data:
  ssh-privatekey: <base64 encoded>
  # This is non-standard, but its use is encouraged to make this more secure.
  # Omitting this results in the use of ssh-keyscan (see below).
  known_hosts: <base64 encoded>

This describes an SSH key secret that should be used to access Git repos at github.com only.

Credential annotation keys must begin with build.knative.dev/docker- or build.knative.dev/git-, and the value describes the URL of the host with which to use the credential.

Implementation detail

Docker basic-auth

Given URLs, usernames, and passwords of the form: https://url{n}.com, user{n}, and pass{n}, generate the following for Docker:

=== ~/.docker/config.json ===
{
  "auths": {
    "https://url1.com": {
      "auth": "$(echo -n user1:pass1 | base64)",
      "email": "not@val.id",
    },
    "https://url2.com": {
      "auth": "$(echo -n user2:pass2 | base64)",
      "email": "not@val.id",
    },
    ...
  }
}

Docker doesn’t support kubernetes.io/ssh-auth, so annotations on these types are ignored.

Git basic-auth

Given URLs, usernames, and passwords of the form: https://url{n}.com, user{n}, and pass{n}, generate the following for Git:

=== ~/.gitconfig ===
[credential]
	helper = store
[credential "https://url1.com"]
    username = "user1"
[credential "https://url2.com"]
    username = "user2"
...
=== ~/.git-credentials ===
https://user1:pass1@url1.com
https://user2:pass2@url2.com
...

Git ssh-auth

Given hostnames, private keys, and known_hosts of the form: url{n}.com, key{n}, and known_hosts{n}, generate the following for Git:

=== ~/.ssh/id_key1 ===
{contents of key1}
=== ~/.ssh/id_key2 ===
{contents of key2}
...
=== ~/.ssh/config ===
Host url1.com
    HostName url1.com
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_key1
Host url2.com
    HostName url2.com
    IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_key2
...
=== ~/.ssh/known_hosts ===
{contents of known_hosts1}
{contents of known_hosts2}
...

Note: Because known_hosts is a non-standard extension of kubernetes.io/ssh-auth, when it is not present this will be generated through ssh-keygen url{n}.com instead.

Least privilege

The secrets as outlined here will be stored into $HOME (by convention the volume: /builder/home), and will be available to Source and all Steps.

For sensitive credentials that should not be made available to some steps, do not use the mechanisms outlined here. Instead, the user should declare an explicit Volume from the Secret and manually VolumeMount it into the Step.


Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License.