Application credentials in configuration files

Accessing application credentials is not a Kubernetes specific issue, however, credentials used in a Kubernetes cluster may be visible through manifests. Most notably, gaining access to an Infrastructure as Code repository could lead to sensitive information being identified from manifests.

Additionally, Kubernetes ConfigMaps are frequently used to pass information to a pod. This can be in the form of configuration files, environment variables, etc.

In this example, information is passed via a ConfigMap to a Pod running postgres which sets the environment variables POSTGRS_DB, POSTGRES_USER, POSTGRES_PASSWORD, and PGDATA. While ConfigMaps are not supposed to be used for sensitive information, they still can be used to pass in information such as passwords.

apiVersion: v1
kind: ConfigMap
  name: postgres-config
    app: ecommerce
    tier: postgres
  POSTGRES_DB: prod 
  POSTGRES_PASSWORD: 123graham_is_SO_cool123 
  PGDATA: /var/lib/postgresql/data/pgdata

After a config map is created, it can be referenced by a manifest by using - configMapRef which will link the config map to the Pod.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod 
  name: postgres 
  - name: postgres
    image: postgres:latest
      - configMapRef:
          name: postgres-config

Once inside the pod, environment variables passed in via ConfigMaps can be listed with env.

Beyond ConfigMaps, searching for potentially sensitive strings such as PASSWORD=, is worthwhile. A tool like Dredge can be used for this.


Pull requests needed ❤️