Security Problems

End-user authentication fails

With Istio, you can enable authentication for end users through request authentication policies. Follow these steps to troubleshoot the policy specification.

  1. If jwksUri isn’t set, make sure the JWT issuer is of url format and url + /.well-known/openid-configuration can be opened in browser; for example, if the JWT issuer is https://accounts.google.com, make sure https://accounts.google.com/.well-known/openid-configuration is a valid url and can be opened in a browser.

    apiVersion: "security.istio.io/v1beta1"
    kind: "RequestAuthentication"
    metadata:
      name: "example-3"
    spec:
      selector:
        matchLabels:
          app: httpbin
      jwtRules:
      - issuer: "testing@secure.istio.io"
        jwksUri: "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/istio/istio/master/security/tools/jwt/samples/jwks.json"
    
  2. If the JWT token is placed in the Authorization header in http requests, make sure the JWT token is valid (not expired, etc). The fields in a JWT token can be decoded by using online JWT parsing tools, e.g., jwt.io.

  3. Verify the Envoy proxy configuration of the target workload using istioctl proxy-config command.

    With the example policy above applied, use the following command to check the listener configuration on the inbound port 80. You should see envoy.filters.http.jwt_authn filter with settings matching the issuer and JWKS as specified in the policy.

    $ POD=$(kubectl get pod -l app=httpbin -n foo -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name})
    $ istioctl proxy-config listener ${POD} -n foo --port 80 --type HTTP -o json
    <redacted>
                                {
                                    "name": "envoy.filters.http.jwt_authn",
                                    "typedConfig": {
                                        "@type": "type.googleapis.com/envoy.config.filter.http.jwt_authn.v2alpha.JwtAuthentication",
                                        "providers": {
                                            "origins-0": {
                                                "issuer": "testing@secure.istio.io",
                                                "localJwks": {
                                                    "inlineString": "*redacted*"
                                                },
                                                "payloadInMetadata": "testing@secure.istio.io"
                                            }
                                        },
                                        "rules": [
                                            {
                                                "match": {
                                                    "prefix": "/"
                                                },
                                                "requires": {
                                                    "requiresAny": {
                                                        "requirements": [
                                                            {
                                                                "providerName": "origins-0"
                                                            },
                                                            {
                                                                "allowMissing": {}
                                                            }
                                                        ]
                                                    }
                                                }
                                            }
                                        ]
                                    }
                                },
    <redacted>
    

Authorization is too restrictive

When you first enable authorization for a service, all requests are denied by default. After you add one or more authorization policies, then matching requests should flow through. If all requests continue to be denied, you can try the following:

  1. Make sure there is no typo in your policy YAML file.

  2. Avoid enabling authorization for Istiod. Istio authorization policy is designed for authorizing access to workloads in Istio Mesh. Enabling it for Istiod may cause unexpected behavior.

  3. Make sure that your authorization policies are in the right namespace (as specified in metadata/namespace field).

  4. Make sure that your authorization policies with ALLOW action don’t use any HTTP only fields for TCP traffic. Otherwise, Istio ignores the ALLOW policies as if they don’t exist.

  5. An HTTP response with the value RBAC: Access Denied indicates an authorization policy is in effect. You can determine the authorization policy in effect by running istioctl x authz check POD-NAME.POD-NAMESPACE.

  6. Make sure that your authorization policies with DENY action don’t use any HTTP only fields for TCP traffic. Otherwise, Istio ignores the rules with HTTP only fields within the DENY policies as if they don’t exist.

  7. An HTTP response with the value upstream connect error or disconnect/reset before headers. reset reason: connection termination can indicate an authorization policy with HTTP only fields applied to TCP traffic. Read the port selection documentation for how Istio determines whether a service is using the http or tcp protocol.

Authorization is too permissive

If authorization checks are enabled for a service and yet requests to the service aren’t being blocked, then authorization was likely not enabled successfully. To verify, follow these steps:

  1. Check the authorization concept documentation to correctly apply Istio authorization.

  2. Make sure there is no typo in your policy YAML file. Especially check to make sure the authorization policy is applied to the right workload and namespace.

  3. Avoid enabling authorization for Istiod. The Istio authorization features are designed for authorizing access to workloads in an Istio Mesh. Enabling the authorization features for Istiod can cause unexpected behavior.

Ensure Istiod accepts the policies

Istiod converts and distributes your authorization policies to the proxies. The following steps help you ensure Istiod is working as expected:

  1. Run the following command to open the Istiod ControlZ UI Page:

    $ istioctl dashboard controlz $(kubectl -n istio-system get pods -l app=istiod -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}').istio-system
    
  2. After your browser opens, click Logging Scopes in the left menu.

  3. Change the authorization Output Level to debug.

  4. Use Ctrl+C in the terminal you started in step 1 to stop the port-forward command.

  5. Print the log of Istiod and search for authorization with the following command:

    $ kubectl logs $(kubectl -n istio-system get pods -l app=istiod -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}') -c discovery -n istio-system | grep authorization
    
  6. Check the output and verify:

    • There are no errors.
    • There is a building v1beta1 policy message which indicates the filter was generated for the target workload.
  7. For example, you might see something similar to the following:

    2020-03-05T23:43:21.621339Z   debug   authorization   found authorization allow policies for workload [app=ext-authz-server,pod-template-hash=5fd587cc9d,security.istio.io/tlsMode=istio,service.istio.io/canonical-name=ext-authz-server,service.istio.io/canonical-revision=latest] in foo
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.621348Z   debug   authorization   building filter for HTTP listener protocol
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.621351Z   debug   authorization   building v1beta1 policy
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.621399Z   debug   authorization   constructed internal model: &{Permissions:[{Services:[] Hosts:[] NotHosts:[] Paths:[] NotPaths:[] Methods:[] NotMethods:[] Ports:[] NotPorts:[] Constraints:[] AllowAll:true v1beta1:true}] Principals:[{Users:[] Names:[cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account] NotNames:[] Group: Groups:[] NotGroups:[] Namespaces:[] NotNamespaces:[] IPs:[] NotIPs:[] RequestPrincipals:[] NotRequestPrincipals:[] Properties:[] AllowAll:false v1beta1:true}]}
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.621528Z   info    ads    LDS: PUSH for node:sleep-6bdb595bcb-vmchz.foo listeners:38
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.621997Z   debug   authorization   generated policy ns[foo]-policy[ext-authz-server]-rule[0]: permissions:<and_rules:<rules:<any:true > > > principals:<and_ids:<ids:<or_ids:<ids:<metadata:<filter:"istio_authn" path:<key:"source.principal" > value:<string_match:<exact:"cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account" > > > > > > > >
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.622052Z   debug   authorization   added HTTP filter to filter chain 0
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623532Z   debug   authorization   found authorization allow policies for workload [app=ext-authz-server,pod-template-hash=5fd587cc9d,security.istio.io/tlsMode=istio,service.istio.io/canonical-name=ext-authz-server,service.istio.io/canonical-revision=latest] in foo
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623543Z   debug   authorization   building filter for TCP listener protocol
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623546Z   debug   authorization   building v1beta1 policy
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623572Z   debug   authorization   constructed internal model: &{Permissions:[{Services:[] Hosts:[] NotHosts:[] Paths:[] NotPaths:[] Methods:[] NotMethods:[] Ports:[] NotPorts:[] Constraints:[] AllowAll:true v1beta1:true}] Principals:[{Users:[] Names:[cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account] NotNames:[] Group: Groups:[] NotGroups:[] Namespaces:[] NotNamespaces:[] IPs:[] NotIPs:[] RequestPrincipals:[] NotRequestPrincipals:[] Properties:[] AllowAll:false v1beta1:true}]}
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623625Z   debug   authorization   generated policy ns[foo]-policy[ext-authz-server]-rule[0]: permissions:<and_rules:<rules:<any:true > > > principals:<and_ids:<ids:<or_ids:<ids:<authenticated:<principal_name:<exact:"spiffe://cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account" > > > > > > >
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623645Z   debug   authorization   added TCP filter to filter chain 0
    2020-03-05T23:43:21.623648Z   debug   authorization   added TCP filter to filter chain 1
    

    This shows that Istiod generated:

    • An HTTP filter config with policy ns[foo]-policy[ext-authz-server]-rule[0] for workload with labels app=ext-authz-server,....

    • A TCP filter config with policy ns[foo]-policy[ext-authz-server]-rule[0] for workload with labels app=ext-authz-server,....

Ensure Istiod distributes policies to proxies correctly

Pilot distributes the authorization policies to proxies. The following steps help you ensure Pilot is working as expected:

  1. Run the following command to get the proxy configuration dump for the productpage service:

    $ kubectl exec  $(kubectl get pods -l app=productpage -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}') -c istio-proxy -- pilot-agent request GET config_dump
    
  2. Check the log and verify:

    • The log includes an envoy.filters.http.rbac filter to enforce the authorization policy on each incoming request.
    • Istio updates the filter accordingly after you update your authorization policy.
  3. The following output means the proxy of productpage has enabled the envoy.filters.http.rbac filter with rules that allows anyone to access it via GET method. The shadow_rules are not used and you can ignored them safely.

    {
     "name": "envoy.filters.http.rbac",
     "config": {
      "rules": {
       "policies": {
        "productpage-viewer": {
         "permissions": [
          {
           "and_rules": {
            "rules": [
             {
              "or_rules": {
               "rules": [
                {
                 "header": {
                  "exact_match": "GET",
                  "name": ":method"
                 }
                }
               ]
              }
             }
            ]
           }
          }
         ],
         "principals": [
          {
           "and_ids": {
            "ids": [
             {
              "any": true
             }
            ]
           }
          }
         ]
        }
       }
      },
      "shadow_rules": {
       "policies": {}
      }
     }
    },
    

Ensure proxies enforce policies correctly

Proxies eventually enforce the authorization policies. The following steps help you ensure the proxy is working as expected:

  1. Turn on the authorization debug logging in proxy with the following command:

    $ kubectl exec $(kubectl get pods -l app=productpage -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}') -c istio-proxy -- pilot-agent request POST 'logging?rbac=debug'
    
  2. Verify you see the following output:

    active loggers:
      ... ...
      rbac: debug
      ... ...
    
  3. Visit the productpage in your browser to generate some logs.

  4. Print the proxy logs with the following command:

    $ kubectl logs $(kubectl get pods -l app=productpage -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}') -c istio-proxy
    
  5. Check the output and verify:

    • The output log shows either enforced allowed or enforced denied depending on whether the request was allowed or denied respectively.

    • Your authorization policy expects the data extracted from the request.

  6. The following output means there is a GET request at path /productpage and the policy allows the request. The shadow denied has no effect and you can ignore it safely.

    ...
    [2018-07-26 20:39:18.060][152][debug][rbac] external/envoy/source/extensions/filters/http/rbac/rbac_filter.cc:79] checking request: remoteAddress: 10.60.0.139:51158, localAddress: 10.60.0.93:9080, ssl: uriSanPeerCertificate: spiffe://cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account, subjectPeerCertificate: O=, headers: ':authority', '35.238.0.62'
    ':path', '/productpage'
    ':method', 'GET'
    'upgrade-insecure-requests', '1'
    'user-agent', 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/67.0.3396.99 Safari/537.36'
    'dnt', '1'
    'accept', 'text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8'
    'accept-encoding', 'gzip, deflate'
    'accept-language', 'en-US,en;q=0.9,zh-CN;q=0.8,zh;q=0.7'
    'x-forwarded-for', '10.60.0.1'
    'x-forwarded-proto', 'http'
    'x-request-id', 'e23ea62d-b25d-91be-857c-80a058d746d4'
    'x-b3-traceid', '5983108bf6d05603'
    'x-b3-spanid', '5983108bf6d05603'
    'x-b3-sampled', '1'
    'x-istio-attributes', 'CikKGGRlc3RpbmF0aW9uLnNlcnZpY2UubmFtZRINEgtwcm9kdWN0cGFnZQoqCh1kZXN0aW5hdGlvbi5zZXJ2aWNlLm5hbWVzcGFjZRIJEgdkZWZhdWx0Ck8KCnNvdXJjZS51aWQSQRI/a3ViZXJuZXRlczovL2lzdGlvLWluZ3Jlc3NnYXRld2F5LTc2NjY0Y2NmY2Ytd3hjcjQuaXN0aW8tc3lzdGVtCj4KE2Rlc3RpbmF0aW9uLnNlcnZpY2USJxIlcHJvZHVjdHBhZ2UuZGVmYXVsdC5zdmMuY2x1c3Rlci5sb2NhbApDChhkZXN0aW5hdGlvbi5zZXJ2aWNlLmhvc3QSJxIlcHJvZHVjdHBhZ2UuZGVmYXVsdC5zdmMuY2x1c3Rlci5sb2NhbApBChdkZXN0aW5hdGlvbi5zZXJ2aWNlLnVpZBImEiRpc3RpbzovL2RlZmF1bHQvc2VydmljZXMvcHJvZHVjdHBhZ2U='
    'content-length', '0'
    'x-envoy-internal', 'true'
    'sec-istio-authn-payload', 'CkVjbHVzdGVyLmxvY2FsL25zL2lzdGlvLXN5c3RlbS9zYS9pc3Rpby1pbmdyZXNzZ2F0ZXdheS1zZXJ2aWNlLWFjY291bnQSRWNsdXN0ZXIubG9jYWwvbnMvaXN0aW8tc3lzdGVtL3NhL2lzdGlvLWluZ3Jlc3NnYXRld2F5LXNlcnZpY2UtYWNjb3VudA=='
    , dynamicMetadata: filter_metadata {
      key: "istio_authn"
      value {
        fields {
          key: "request.auth.principal"
          value {
            string_value: "cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account"
          }
        }
        fields {
          key: "source.principal"
          value {
            string_value: "cluster.local/ns/istio-system/sa/istio-ingressgateway-service-account"
          }
        }
      }
    }
    
    [2018-07-26 20:39:18.060][152][debug][rbac] external/envoy/source/extensions/filters/http/rbac/rbac_filter.cc:88] shadow denied
    [2018-07-26 20:39:18.060][152][debug][rbac] external/envoy/source/extensions/filters/http/rbac/rbac_filter.cc:98] enforced allowed
    ...
    

Keys and certificates errors

If you suspect that some of the keys and/or certificates used by Istio aren’t correct, you can inspect the contents from any pod:

$ istioctl proxy-config secret sleep-8f795f47d-4s4t7
RESOURCE NAME     TYPE           STATUS     VALID CERT     SERIAL NUMBER                               NOT AFTER                NOT BEFORE
default           Cert Chain     ACTIVE     true           138092480869518152837211547060273851586     2020-11-11T16:39:48Z     2020-11-10T16:39:48Z
ROOTCA            CA             ACTIVE     true           288553090258624301170355571152070165215     2030-11-08T16:34:52Z     2020-11-10T16:34:52Z

By passing the -o json flag, you can pass the full certificate content to openssl to analyze its contents:

$ istioctl proxy-config secret sleep-8f795f47d-4s4t7 -o json | jq '[.dynamicActiveSecrets[] | select(.name == "default")][0].secret.tlsCertificate.certificateChain.inlineBytes' -r | base64 -d | openssl x509 -noout -text
Certificate:
    Data:
        Version: 3 (0x2)
        Serial Number:
            99:59:6b:a2:5a:f4:20:f4:03:d7:f0:bc:59:f5:d8:40
    Signature Algorithm: sha256WithRSAEncryption
        Issuer: O = k8s.cluster.local
        Validity
            Not Before: Jun  4 20:38:20 2018 GMT
            Not After : Sep  2 20:38:20 2018 GMT
...
        X509v3 extensions:
            X509v3 Key Usage: critical
                Digital Signature, Key Encipherment
            X509v3 Extended Key Usage:
                TLS Web Server Authentication, TLS Web Client Authentication
            X509v3 Basic Constraints: critical
                CA:FALSE
            X509v3 Subject Alternative Name:
                URI:spiffe://cluster.local/ns/my-ns/sa/my-sa
...

Make sure the displayed certificate contains valid information. In particular, the Subject Alternative Name field should be URI:spiffe://cluster.local/ns/my-ns/sa/my-sa.

Mutual TLS errors

If you suspect problems with mutual TLS, first ensure that Citadel is healthy, and second ensure that keys and certificates are being delivered to sidecars properly.

If everything appears to be working so far, the next step is to verify that the right authentication policy is applied and the right destination rules are in place.

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