Authentication at Run Time

This document describes how Tekton handles authentication when executing TaskRuns and PipelineRuns. Since authentication concepts and processes apply to both of those entities in the same manner, this document collectively refers to TaskRuns and PipelineRuns as Runs for the sake of brevity.

Overview

Tekton supports authentication via the Kubernetes first-class Secret types listed below.

Git Docker
kubernetes.io/basic-auth
kubernetes.io/ssh-auth
kubernetes.io/basic-auth
kubernetes.io/dockercfg
kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson

A Run gains access to these Secrets through its associated ServiceAccount. Tekton requires that each supported Secret includes a Tekton-specific annotation.

Tekton converts properly annotated Secrets of the supported types and stores them in a Step's container as follows:

  • Git: Tekton produces a ~/.gitconfig file or a ~/.ssh directory.
  • Docker: Tekton produces a ~/.docker/config.json file.

Each Secret type supports multiple credentials covering multiple domains and establishes specific rules governing credential formatting and merging. Tekton follows those rules when merging credentials of each supported type.

To consume these Secrets, Tekton performs credential initialization within every Pod it instantiates, before executing any Steps in the Run. During credential initialization, Tekton accesses each Secret associated with the Run and aggregates them into a /tekton/creds directory. Tekton then copies or symlinks files from this directory into the user’s $HOME directory.

Understanding credential selection

A Run might require multiple types of authentication. For example, a Run might require access to multiple private Git and Docker repositories. You must properly annotate each Secret to specify the domains for which Tekton can use the credentials that the Secret contains. Tekton ignores all Secrets that are not properly annotated.

A credential annotation key must begin with tekton.dev/git- or tekton.dev/docker- and its value is the URL of the host for which you want Tekton to use that credential. In the following example, Tekton uses a basic-auth (username/password pair) Secret to access Git repositories at github.com and gitlab.com as well as Docker repositories at gcr.io:

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

And in this example, Tekton uses an ssh-auth Secret to access Git repositories at github.com only:

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
metadata:
  annotations:
    tekton.dev/git-0: github.com
type: kubernetes.io/ssh-auth
stringData:
  ssh-privatekey: <private-key>
  # This is non-standard, but its use is encouraged to make this more secure.
  # Omitting this results in the server's public key being blindly accepted.

Using Secrets as a non-root user

In certain scenarios you might need to use Secrets as a non-root user. For example:

  • Your platform randomizes the user and/or groups that your containers use to execute.
  • The Steps in your Task define a non-root securityContext.
  • Your Task specifies a global non-root securityContext that applies to all Steps in the Task.

The following are considerations for executing Runs as a non-root user:

  • ssh-auth for Git requires the user to have a valid home directory configured in /etc/passwd. Specifying a UID that has no valid home directory results in authentication failure.
  • Since SSH authentication ignores the $HOME environment variable, you must either move or symlink the appropriate Secret files from the $HOME directory defined by Tekton (/tekton/home) to the non-root user’s valid home directory to use SSH authentication for either Git or Docker.

For an example of configuring SSH authentication in a non-root securityContext, see authenticating-git-commands.

Limiting Secret access to specific Steps

As described earlier in this document, Tekton stores supported Secrets in $HOME/tekton/home and makes them available to all Steps within a Task.

If you want to limit a Secret to only be accessible to specific Steps but not others, you must explicitly specify a Volume using the Secret definition and manually VolumeMount it into the desired Steps instead of using the procedures described later in this document.

Configuring authentication for Git

This section describes how to configure the following authentication schemes for use with Git:

Configuring basic-auth authentication for Git

This section describes how to configure a basic-auth type Secret for use with Git. In the example below, before executing any Steps in the Run, Tekton creates a ~/.gitconfig file containing the credentials specified in the Secret. When the Steps execute, Tekton uses those credentials to retrieve PipelineResources specified in the Run.

Note: Github deprecated basic authentication with username and password. You can still use basic authentication, but you wil need to use a personal access token instead of the cleartext password in the following example. You can find out how to create such a token on the Github documentation site.

  1. In secret.yaml, define a Secret that specifies the username and password that you want Tekton to use to access the target Git repository:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: Secret
   metadata:
     name: basic-user-pass
     annotations:
       tekton.dev/git-0: https://github.com # Described below
   type: kubernetes.io/basic-auth
   stringData:
     username: <cleartext username>
     password: <cleartext password>

In the above example, the value for tekton.dev/git-0 specifies the URL for which Tekton will use this Secret, as described in Understanding credential selection.

  1. In serviceaccount.yaml, associate the Secret with the desired ServiceAccount:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: ServiceAccount
   metadata:
     name: build-bot
   secrets:
     - name: basic-user-pass
  1. In run.yaml, associate the ServiceAccount with your Run by doing one of the following:

    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your TaskRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: TaskRun
     metadata:
       name: build-push-task-run-2
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       taskRef:
         name: build-push
    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your PipelineRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: PipelineRun
     metadata:
       name: demo-pipeline
       namespace: default
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       pipelineRef:
         name: demo-pipeline
  2. Execute the Run:

   kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml serviceaccount.yaml run.yaml

Configuring ssh-auth authentication for Git

This section describes how to configure an ssh-auth type Secret for use with Git. In the example below, before executing any Steps in the Run, Tekton creates a ~/.ssh/config file containing the SSH key specified in the Secret. When the Steps execute, Tekton uses this key to retrieve PipelineResources specified in the Run.

  1. In secret.yaml, define a Secret that specifies your SSH private key:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: Secret
   metadata:
     name: ssh-key
     annotations:
       tekton.dev/git-0: github.com # Described below
   type: kubernetes.io/ssh-auth
   stringData:
     ssh-privatekey: <private-key>
     # This is non-standard, but its use is encouraged to make this more secure.
     # If it is not provided then the git server's public key will be requested
     # when the repo is first fetched.
     known_hosts: <known-hosts>

In the above example, the value for tekton.dev/git-0 specifies the URL for which Tekton will use this Secret, as described in Understanding credential selection.

  1. Generate the ssh-privatekey value. For example:

cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa

  1. Set the value of the known_hosts field to the generated ssh-privatekey value from the previous step.

  2. In serviceaccount.yaml, associate the Secret with the desired ServiceAccount:

   apiVersion: v1
   kind: ServiceAccount
   metadata:
     name: build-bot
   secrets:
     - name: ssh-key
  1. In run.yaml, associate the ServiceAccount with your Run by doing one of the following:

    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your TaskRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: TaskRun
     metadata:
       name: build-push-task-run-2
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       taskRef:
         name: build-push
    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your PipelineRun:
   apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
   kind: PipelineRun
   metadata:
     name: demo-pipeline
     namespace: default
   spec:
     serviceAccountName: build-bot
     pipelineRef:
       name: demo-pipeline
  1. Execute the Run:
   kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml,serviceaccount.yaml,run.yaml

Using a custom port for SSH authentication

You can specify a custom SSH port in your Secret. In the example below, any PipelineResource referencing a repository at example.com will connect to it on port 2222.

apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
metadata:
  name: ssh-key-custom-port
  annotations:
    tekton.dev/git-0: example.com:2222
type: kubernetes.io/ssh-auth
stringData:
  ssh-privatekey: <private-key>
  known_hosts: <known-hosts>

Using SSH authentication in git type Tasks

You can use SSH authentication as described earlier in this document when invoking git commands directly in the Steps of a Task. Since ssh ignores the $HOME variable and only uses the user’s home directory specified in /etc/passwd, each Step must symlink /tekton/home/.ssh to the home directory of its associated user.

Note: This explicit symlinking is not necessary when using a git type PipelineResource or the git-clone Task from Tekton Catalog.

For example usage, see authenticating-git-commands.

Configuring authentication for Docker

This section describes how to configure the following authentication schemes for use with Docker:

Configuring basic-auth authentication for Docker

This section describes how to configure the basic-auth (username/password pair) type Secret for use with Docker.

In the example below, before executing any Steps in the Run, Tekton creates a ~/.docker/config.json file containing the credentials specified in the Secret. When the Steps execute, Tekton uses those credentials when retrieving PipelineResources specified in the Run.

  1. In secret.yaml, define a Secret that specifies the username and password that you want Tekton to use to access the target Docker registry:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: Secret
   metadata:
     name: basic-user-pass
     annotations:
       tekton.dev/docker-0: https://gcr.io # Described below
   type: kubernetes.io/basic-auth
   stringData:
     username: <cleartext username>
     password: <cleartext password>

In the above example, the value for tekton.dev/docker-0 specifies the URL for which Tekton will use this Secret, as described in Understanding credential selection.

  1. In serviceaccount.yaml, associate the Secret with the desired ServiceAccount:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: ServiceAccount
   metadata:
     name: build-bot
   secrets:
     - name: basic-user-pass
  1. In run.yaml, associate the ServiceAccount with your Run by doing one of the following:

    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your TaskRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: TaskRun
     metadata:
       name: build-push-task-run-2
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       taskRef:
         name: build-push
    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your PipelineRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: PipelineRun
     metadata:
       name: demo-pipeline
       namespace: default
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       pipelineRef:
         name: demo-pipeline
  2. Execute the Run:

   kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml serviceaccount.yaml run.yaml

Configuring docker* authentication for Docker

This section describes how to configure authentication using the dockercfg and dockerconfigjson type Secrets for use with Docker. In the example below, before executing any Steps in the Run, Tekton creates a ~/.docker/config.json file containing the credentials specified in the Secret. When the Steps execute, Tekton uses those credentials to access the target Docker registry. f Note: If you specify both the Tekton basic-auth and the above Kubernetes Secrets, Tekton merges all credentials from all specified Secrets but Tekton’s basic-auth Secret overrides either of the Kubernetes Secrets.

  1. Define a Secret based on your Docker client configuration file.
   kubectl create secret generic regcred \
    --from-file=.dockerconfigjson=<path/to/.docker/config.json> \
    --type=kubernetes.io/dockerconfigjson

For more information, see Pull an Image from a Private Registry in the Kubernetes documentation.

  1. In serviceaccount.yaml, associate the Secret with the desired ServiceAccount:
   apiVersion: v1
   kind: ServiceAccount
   metadata:
     name: build-bot
   secrets:
     - name: regcred
  1. In run.yaml, associate the ServiceAccount with your Run by doing one of the following:

    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your TaskRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: TaskRun
     metadata:
       name: build-with-basic-auth
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       steps:
       # ...
    • Associate the ServiceAccount with your PipelineRun:
     apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
     kind: PipelineRun
     metadata:
       name: demo-pipeline
       namespace: default
     spec:
       serviceAccountName: build-bot
       pipelineRef:
         name: demo-pipeline
  2. Execute the build:

   kubectl apply --filename secret.yaml --filename serviceaccount.yaml --filename taskrun.yaml

Technical reference

This section provides a technical reference for the implementation of the authentication mechanisms described earlier in this document.

basic-auth for Git

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

=== ~/.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
...

ssh-auth for Git

Given hostnames, private keys, and known_hosts of the form: url{n}.com, key{n}, and known_hosts{n}, Tekton generates the following.

By default, if no value is specified for known_hosts, Tekton configures SSH to accept any public key returned by the server on first query. Tekton does this by setting Git’s core.sshCommand variable to ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=accept-new. This behaviour can be prevented using a feature-flag: require-git-ssh-secret-known-hosts. Set this flag to true and all Git SSH Secrets must include a known_hosts.

=== ~/.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}
...

basic-auth for Docker

Given URLs, usernames, and passwords of the form: https://url{n}.com, user{n}, and pass{n}, Tekton generates the following. Since Docker doesn’t support the kubernetes.io/ssh-auth type Secret, Tekton ignores annotations on Secrets of that type.

=== ~/.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",
    },
    ...
  }
}

Errors and their meaning

“unsuccessful cred copy” Warning

This message has the following format:

warning: unsuccessful cred copy: ".docker" from "/tekton/creds" to "/tekton/home": unable to open destination: open /tekton/home/.docker/config.json: permission denied

The precise credential and paths mentioned can vary. This message is only a warning but can be indicative of the following problems:

Multiple Steps with varying UIDs

Multiple Steps with different users / UIDs are trying to initialize docker or git credentials in the same Task. If those Steps need access to the credentials then they may fail as they might not have permission to access them.

This happens because, by default, /tekton/home is set to be a Step user’s home directory and Tekton makes this directory a shared volume that all Steps in a Task have access to. Any credentials initialized by one Step are overwritten by subsequent Steps also initializing credentials.

If the Steps reporting this warning do not use the credentials mentioned in the message then you can safely ignore it.

This can most easily be resolved by ensuring that each Step executing in your Task and TaskRun runs with the same UID. A blanket UID can be set with a TaskRun’s Pod template field.

If you require Steps to run with different UIDs then you should disable Tekton’s built-in credential initialization and use Workspaces to mount credentials from Secrets instead. See the section on disabling Tekton’s credential initialization.

A Workspace or Volume is also Mounted for the same credentials

A Task has mounted both a Workspace (or Volume) for credentials and the TaskRun has attached a service account with git or docker credentials that Tekton will try to initialize.

The simplest solution to this problem is to not mix credentials mounted via Workspace with those initialized using the process described in this document. See the section on disabling Tekton’s credential initialization.

A Task employs a read-only Workspace or Volume for $HOME

A Task has mounted a read-only Workspace (or Volume) for the user’s HOME directory and the TaskRun attaches a service account with git or docker credentials that Tekton will try to initialize.

The simplest solution to this problem is to not mix credentials mounted via Workspace with those initialized using the process described in this document. See the section on disabling Tekton’s credential initialization.

The contents of $HOME are chowned to a different user

A Task Step that modifies the ownership of files in the user home directory may prevent subsequent Steps from initializing credentials in that same home directory. The simplest solution to this problem is to avoid running chown on files and directories under /tekton. Another option is to run all Steps with the same UID.

The Step is named image-digest-exporter

If you see this warning reported specifically by an image-digest-exporter Step you can safely ignore this message. The reason it appears is that this Step is injected by Tekton for Image PipelineResources and it runs with a non-root UID that can differ from those of the Steps in the Task. The Step does not use these credentials.


Disabling Tekton’s Built-In Auth

Why would an organization want to do this?

There are a number of reasons that an organization may want to disable Tekton’s built-in credential handling:

  1. The mechanism can be quite difficult to debug.
  2. There are an extremely limited set of supported credential types.
  3. Tasks with Steps that have different UIDs can break if multiple Steps are trying to share access to the same credentials.
  4. Tasks with Steps that have different UIDs can log more warning messages, creating more noise in TaskRun logs. Again this is because multiple Steps with differing UIDs cannot share access to the same credential files.

What are the effects of making this change?

  1. Credentials must now be passed explicitly to Tasks either with Workspaces, environment variables (using envFrom in your Steps and a Task param to specify a Secret), or a custom volume and volumeMount definition.
  2. Git PipelineResources may not work or may only work with public repositories.

How to disable the built-in auth

To disable Tekton’s built-in auth, edit the feature-flag ConfigMap in the tekton-pipelines namespace and update the value of disable-creds-init from "false" to "true".

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.


Last modified January 1, 0001