Version 1.15

Anthos Service Mesh by example: mTLS

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In Anthos Service Mesh 1.5 and later, auto mutual TLS (auto mTLS) is enabled by default. With auto mTLS, a client sidecar proxy automatically detects if the server has a sidecar. The client sidecar sends mTLS to workloads with sidecars and sends plaintext to workloads without sidecars. Note, however, services accept both plaintext and mTLS traffic. As you inject sidecar proxies to your Pods, we recommend that you also configure your services to only accept mTLS traffic.

With Anthos Service Mesh, you can enforce mTLS, outside of your application code, by applying a single YAML file. Anthos Service Mesh gives you the flexibility to apply an authentication policy to the entire service mesh, to a namespace, or to an individual workload.

mutual mTLS

Costs

This tutorial uses the following billable components of Google Cloud:

To generate a cost estimate based on your projected usage, use the pricing calculator. New Google Cloud users might be eligible for a free trial.

When you finish this tutorial, you can avoid ongoing costs by deleting the resources you created. For more information, see Clean up.

Before you begin

Access Online Boutique

  1. Set the current context for kubectl to the cluster where you deployed Online Boutique:

    gcloud container clusters get-credentials CLUSTER_NAME  \
        --project=PROJECT_ID \
        --zone=CLUSTER_LOCATION 
    
  2. List the services in the frontend namespace:

    kubectl get services -n frontend
    

    Notice that frontend-external is a LoadBalancer, and it has an external IP address. The sample application includes a service that is a load balancer so that it can be deployed on GKE without Anthos Service Mesh.

  3. Visit the application in your browser using the external IP address of the frontend-external service:

    http://FRONTEND_EXTERNAL_IP/
    
  4. Anthos Service Mesh provides you the ability to deploy an ingress gateway. You can also access the Online Boutique using the external IP address of the ingress gateway. Get the external IP of the gateway. Replace the placeholders with the following information:

    • GATEWAY_SERVICE_NAME : The name of the ingress gateway service. If you deployed the sample gateway without modification, or if you deployed the default ingress gateway, the name is istio-ingressgateway.
    • GATEWAY_NAMESPACE: The namespace in which you deployed the ingress gateway. If you deployed the default ingress gateway, the namespace is istio-system.
    kubectl get service GATEWAY_NAME -n GATEWAY_NAMESPACE
    
  5. Open another tab in your browser and visit the application using the external IP address of the ingress gateway:

    http://INGRESS_GATEWAY_EXTERNAL_IP/
    
  6. Run the following command to curl the frontend service with plain HTTP from another Pod. Because the services are in different namespaces, you need to curl the DNS name of the frontend service.

    kubectl exec \
      $(kubectl get pod -l app=productcatalogservice -n product-catalog -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name}) \
      -c istio-proxy -n product-catalog -- \
      curl http://frontend.frontend.svc.cluster.local:80/ -o /dev/null -s -w '%{http_code}\n'
    

    Your request succeeds with status 200, because by default, both TLS and plaintext traffic are accepted.

Enable mutual TLS per namespace

You enforce mTLS by applying a PeerAuthentication policy with kubectl.

  1. Save the following authentication policy as mtls-namespace.yaml.

    cat <<EOF > mtls-namespace.yaml
    apiVersion: "security.istio.io/v1beta1"
    kind: "PeerAuthentication"
    metadata:
      name: "namespace-policy"
    spec:
      mtls:
        mode: STRICT
    EOF
    

    The line mode: STRICT in the YAML configures the services to only accept mTLS. By default, the mode is PERMISSIVE, which configures services to accept both plaintext and mTLS.

  2. Apply the authentication policy to configure all Online Boutique services to only accept mTLS:

    for ns in ad cart checkout currency email frontend loadgenerator \
         payment product-catalog recommendation shipping; do
    kubectl apply -n $ns -f mtls-namespace.yaml
    done
    

    Expected output:

    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/namespace-policy created

  3. Go to the tab in your browser that accesses the Online Boutique using the external IP address of the frontend-external service:

    http://FRONTEND_EXTERNAL_IP/
    
  4. Refresh the page. The browser displays the following error:

    site can't be reached

    Refreshing the page causes plaintext to be sent to the frontend service. Because of the STRICTauthentication policy, the sidecar proxy blocks the request to the service.

  5. Go to the tab in your browser that accesses the Online Boutique using the external IP address of the istio-ingressgateway, and refresh the page, which displays successfully. When you access Online Boutique using the ingress gateway, the request takes the following path:

    mutual mTLS

    mTLS authentication flow:

    1. The browser sends a plaintext HTTP request to the server.
    2. The ingress gateway proxy container intercepts the request.
    3. The ingress gateway proxy performs a TLS handshake with the server-side proxy (the frontend service in this example). This handshake includes an exchange of certificates. These certs are pre-loaded into the proxy containers by Anthos Service Mesh.
    4. The ingress gateway proxy performs a secure naming check on the server's certificate, verifying that an authorized identity is running the server.
    5. The ingress gateway and server proxies establish a mutual TLS connection, and the server proxy forwards the request to the server application container (the frontend service).
  6. Run the following command to curl the frontend service with plain HTTP from another Pod.

    kubectl exec \
      $(kubectl get pod -l app=productcatalogservice -n product-catalog -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name}) \
      -c istio-proxy -n product-catalog -- \
      curl http://frontend.frontend.svc.cluster.local:80/ -o /dev/null -s -w '%{http_code}\n'
    

    Your request fails because because all Online Boutique services are set to STRICT mTLS, and the sidecar proxy blocks the request to the service.

    Expected output:

    000
    command terminated with exit code 56

View mTLS status

You can view the status of Anthos security features, including authentication policies, in the Google Cloud console.

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the Anthos Security page.

    Go to Anthos Security

  2. Select the Cloud project from the drop-down list on the menu bar.

    The Policy Summary displays the status of application security, including mTLS.

  3. Click Policy Audit to view workload policy statuses for each cluster and namespace. The mTLS status card provides an overview. The Workloads list shows the mTLS status of each workload.

    all services strict mtls

Find and delete authentication policies

  1. For a list of all the PeerAuthentication polices in the service mesh:

    kubectl get peerauthentication --all-namespaces
    

    The output is similar to the following:

    NAMESPACE         NAME               MODE     AGE
    ad                namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    cart              namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    checkout          namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    currency          namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    email             namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    frontend          namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    loadgenerator     namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    payment           namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    product-catalog   namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    recommendation    namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    shipping          namespace-policy   STRICT   17m
    
  2. Delete the authentication policy from all of the Online Boutique namespaces:

    for ns in ad cart checkout currency email frontend loadgenerator payment \
      product-catalog recommendation shipping; do
        kubectl delete peerauthentication -n $ns namespace-policy
    done;
    

    Expected output:

    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "namespace-policy" deleted
    
  3. Access the Online Boutique using the external IP address of the frontend-external service, and refresh the page. The page displays as expected.

  4. Run the following command to curl the frontend service with plain HTTP from another Pod.

    kubectl exec \
      $(kubectl get pod -l app=productcatalogservice -n product-catalog -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name}) \
      -c istio-proxy -n product-catalog -- \
      curl http://frontend.frontend.svc.cluster.local:80/ -o /dev/null -s -w '%{http_code}\n'
    

    Your request succeeds with status 200, because by default, both TLS and plaintext traffic are accepted.

If you refresh the page in the Google Cloud console that displays the Workloads list, it now shows that the mTLS status is Permissive.

Enable mutual TLS per workload

To set a PeerAuthentication policy for a specific workload, you must configure the selector section and specify the labels that match the desired workload. However, Anthos Service Mesh can't aggregate workload-level policies for outbound mTLS traffic to a service. You need to configure a destination rule to manage that behavior.

  1. Apply an authentication policy to a specific workload. Notice how the following policy uses labels and selectors to target the specific frontend deployment.

    cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -n frontend -f -
    apiVersion: "security.istio.io/v1beta1"
    kind: "PeerAuthentication"
    metadata:
      name: "frontend"
      namespace: "frontend"
    spec:
      selector:
        matchLabels:
          app: frontend
      mtls:
        mode: STRICT
    EOF
    

    Expected output:

    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/frontend created
  2. Configure a matching destination rule.

    cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -n frontend -f -
    apiVersion: "networking.istio.io/v1alpha3"
    kind: "DestinationRule"
    metadata:
      name: "frontend"
    spec:
      host: "frontend.demo.svc.cluster.local"
      trafficPolicy:
        tls:
          mode: ISTIO_MUTUAL
    EOF
    

    Expected output:

    destinationrule.networking.istio.io/frontend created
  3. Access the Online Boutique using the external IP address of the frontend-external service, and refresh the page. The page doesn't display because because the frontend service is set to STRICT mTLS, and the sidecar proxy blocks the request.

  4. Run the following command to curl the frontend service with plain HTTP from another Pod.

    kubectl exec \
      $(kubectl get pod -l app=productcatalogservice -n product-catalog -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name}) \
      -c istio-proxy -n product-catalog -- \
      curl http://frontend.frontend.svc.cluster.local:80/ -o /dev/null -s -w '%{http_code}\n'
    

    Your request fails with status code 56.

    If you refresh the page in the Google Cloud console that displays the Workloads list, it now shows that the mTLS status for the frontend service is Strict and all the other services are set to Permissive.

    only frontend service is strict mtls

  5. Delete the authentication policy:

    kubectl delete peerauthentication -n frontend frontend
    

    Expected output:

    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "frontend" deleted
    
  6. Delete the destination rule:

    kubectl delete destinationrule -n frontend frontend
    

    Expected output:

    destinationrule.networking.istio.io "frontend" deleted
    

Enforcing mesh-wide mTLS

To prevent all your services in the mesh from accepting plaintext traffic, set a mesh-wide PeerAuthentication policy with the mTLS mode set to STRICT. The mesh-wide PeerAuthentication policy shouldn't have a selector and must be applied in the root namespace, istio-system. When you deploy the policy, the control plane automatically provisions TLS certificates so that workloads can authenticate with each other.

  1. Enforce mesh-wide mTLS:

    kubectl apply -f - <<EOF
    apiVersion: "security.istio.io/v1beta1"
    kind: "PeerAuthentication"
    metadata:
      name: "mesh-wide"
      namespace: "istio-system"
    spec:
      mtls:
        mode: STRICT
    EOF
    

    Expected output:

    peerauthentication.security.istio.io/mesh-wide created

  2. Access the Online Boutique using the external IP address of the frontend-external service, and refresh the page. The page doesn't display.

  3. Run the following command to curl the frontend service with plain HTTP from another Pod.

    kubectl exec \
      $(kubectl get pod -l app=productcatalogservice -n product-catalog -o jsonpath={.items..metadata.name}) \
      -c istio-proxy -n product-catalog -- \
      curl http://frontend.frontend.svc.cluster.local:80/ -o /dev/null -s -w '%{http_code}\n'
    

    Your request fails with status code 56.

  4. Delete the mesh-wide policy:

    kubectl delete peerauthentication -n istio-system mesh-wide
    

    Expected output:

    peerauthentication.security.istio.io "mesh-wide" deleted
    

    If you refresh the page in the Google Cloud console, you see that that the mTLS details for all services now display Permissive.

Clean up

To avoid incurring charges to your Google Cloud account for the resources used in this tutorial, either delete the project that contains the resources, or keep the project and delete the individual resources.

  • If you want to prevent additional charges, delete the cluster:

    gcloud container clusters delete  CLUSTER_NAME  \
        --project=PROJECT_ID \
        --zone=CLUSTER_LOCATION 
    
  • If you want to keep your cluster and remove the Online Boutique sample:

    1. Delete the application namespaces:
    kubectl delete -f online-boutique/kubernetes-manifests/namespaces
    

    Expected output:

    namespace "ad" deleted
    namespace "cart" deleted
    namespace "checkout" deleted
    namespace "currency" deleted
    namespace "email" deleted
    namespace "frontend" deleted
    namespace "loadgenerator" deleted
    namespace "payment" deleted
    namespace "product-catalog" deleted
    namespace "recommendation" deleted
    namespace "shipping" deleted
    
    1. Delete the service entries:
    kubectl delete -f online-boutique/istio-manifests/allow-egress-googleapis.yaml
    

    Expected output:

    serviceentry.networking.istio.io "allow-egress-googleapis" deleted
    serviceentry.networking.istio.io "allow-egress-google-metadata" deleted
    

What's next