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Working with Secure Params

This article describes several ways to work with Secure Params in the Digital Rebar Platform (DRP).

Topis discussed:

  • Using the meta password value (this is NOT secure params)
  • Creating and working with encrytped Secure Params

This document does not discuss Secure Params at rest in Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) content packs. For more details on working with Secure Params at rest, please see the following Knowledge Base article:


Working with Secure Params within DRP is relatively easy. The two primary ingredients are:

  • the Param type definition carrying the field Secure: true
  • use of the decode option by an authroized user (with an appropriate rs_data_claim)


The Portal has a simplified option to obfuscate the display of a given Param value. This method is NOT utilizing the Secure Params system. However, it is discussed in this KB for completeness sake.

Secure Params utilize curve25519 and xsalsa20 for crypto, and poly1305 for validation of param values that are marked Secure. The values are carried in the Params value field as an object with a key, nonce, and payload. An example of a Secure Param (in YAML output):

  Key: O5+tXUZS7VyxjMQi7O+b6sOtLw25DMesqefhExa0m3U=
  Nonce: 01Dgtd14ZnmC8n8Kr9QMEKmQsfSz8t4z
  Payload: t68Br812eKhefUTInr0+pchQ1stATjUEIcvID7Uxmhwr5pPjzybjeM937uY=

The secure param can only be decrypted with the use of a valid Username/Password pair or Token; which has the appopriate rs_data_claim (specifically getSecure).


Within the Digital Rebar Platform (DRP), is a core feature for enabling secure handling of secrets (passwords, keys, etc.). This feature is simply called "Secure Params". Your DRP Endpoint must be licensed to use the "Secure Params" system. You can verify this as follows:

  • In the UX, observe the Info & Preferences page, under "Feature Flags" will have secure-params
  • CLI check - use drpcli info get | jq -r .features | grep secure-params, should also return secure-params
  • API use the /api/v3/info with a GET request, parse the features JSON returned section for secure-params

In addition, the license entitlements may restrict this feature.

The meta "password" versus "Secure Params"

DRP Param definitions can make use of the Meta field named password. This field simply obfuscates the value of the field in the RackN Portal (UX). It does NOT actually encrypt the data values. This can be useful for simple information display that the operator does not want exposed visually within the portal.

A YAML example of a Param type definition using this implementation looks like:

Name: password-string
  color: yellow
  icon: pencil
  password: "yes"
  type: string
  default: "secret"


Use of the Meta password: yes does NOT actually encrypt the string. The value is stored in clear text. Only the RackN portal obfuscates the value as a convenience.

The password Meta field can contain the following values:

  • yes = obfuscate the value ONLY in the Portal (UX)
  • showable = optionally allow operator to click on the lock icon to show it in the UX

Creating a Secure Param - content and "drpcli"

Creation of a Secure Param is fairly easy. When creating the type definition of a Param, simply add the Secure: true boolean value to the Param object definition, like:

Name: secure-string
  color: orange
  icon: private
Secure: true
  type: string
  default: "secure param value"

When the Param is assigned a value through any normal mechanism, the field value will be encrypted and stored in the system in the key/nonce/payload structure automatically. The initial assignment value of the Param is performed by passing in the clear text value, which will then be automatically converted to the secured and encrypted key/nonce/payload.

An example of using the Secure Param by assigning a value to a Machine, using drpcli:

# creating a "bare" machine Param which has been defined with "Secure: true"
drpcli machines set Name:mach-01 param aaa-secure-string to "lorem ipsum dolor sit amet"

# returns the encrypted key/nonce/payload values as follows:
  "Key": "9BD8qnGR9dv/o0RfoDvFAP9f20aT71b03vR18iKr6Dk=",
  "Nonce": "StDGvBPPeLUSf+Aw9YcbGJDAEp6+PiLw",
  "Payload": "XV5109jwsBlorMl2VZxW+B/jg8Z5ht62+Acozqk5ajgfCHVv+SUx3EI4rhg="

Subsequently - any use of the Param value will be via the encrypted Param, and an operator must decode the encrypted string to view it in the non-encrypted format.

Creating a Secure Param - API

Creating a secure Param via the API is a bit more complex. Ultimately, there are four steps to perform:

  1. Get the PubKey for an object you are creating a Secure Param for
  2. Generate an ephermeral Public/Private curve25519 key pair
  3. Generate a random 24 character Nonce string
  4. Generate a SecureData struct with key set to the ephemeral public key, nonce set to the generated nonce, and payload set to the encrypted data

For general documentation, see the Arch Provisioning rs_data_setting_param_secure page.

Creating a Secure Param - API - Golang example

For Golang implementation, please refer to the drpcli client binary implementation, at:

Creating a Secure Param - API - NodeJS / Javascript example

This is an example implementation of creating a Secure Param object in JSON structure.

import nacl from 'tweetnacl';
import naclutil from 'tweetnacl-util';

function secure(value, pubkey) {
  // generate a keypair and nonce
  const keypair =;
  const nonce = nacl.randomBytes(24);

  // sign the payload to be sent
  const payload =

  // return in DRP format
  return {
    Key: naclutil.encodeBase64(keypair.publicKey),
    Nonce: naclutil.encodeBase64(nonce),
    Payload: naclutil.encodeBase64(payload),

const pubkey = await fetch(`/api/v3/${OBJECT_TYPE}/${OBJECT_ID}/pubkey`);
object.Params[PARAM_NAME] = secure(PARAM_VAL, pubkey);

Viewing a Secure Param

Any operator that has Claim rights (appropriate Role Based Access Controls) to the object, and has a valid username/password or Token with the getSecure Claim right can decode a secure param. The following are methods for viewing the value of a Secure Param.

In the Portal (UX)

If the user meets the Claim / authorization rights, the Param will be presented with a Lock icon in the value of the Param. Clicking the lock icon will automatically decrypt the stored key/nonce/payload values, and make them visibly accessible.

In the Command Line client (drpcli)

Use of the --decode flag in appropriate CLI usage will decode the Param values, assuming the appropriate Claim / authorization information is presented. Example:

# view the encoded key/nonce/payload
drpcli machines get Name:mach-01 param aaa-secure-string

# returns:
  "Key": "O5+tXUZS7VyxjMQi7O+b6sOtLw25DMesqefhExa0m3U=",
  "Nonce": "01Dgtd14ZnmC8n8Kr9QMEKmQsfSz8t4z",
  "Payload": "t68Br812eKhefUTInr0+pchQ1stATjUEIcvID7Uxmhwr5pPjzybjeM937uY="

# decode the encrypted param
drpcli machines get Name:mach-01 param aaa-secure-string --decode

# returns:
"lorem ipsum dolor sit amet"

Decoding Secure Params with the API

The API can be used to obtain the decrypted Secure Param value by appending the query field decode=true to the API call. Below is an example of using the curl command to get the decrypted value via the API.

# get the encrypted key/nonce/payload
curl --insecure -X GET --header 'Accept: application/json' --header 'Authorization: Basic abc123abc123abc123' \

# returns:

# decrypt the value (notice '&decode=true` query string appended):
curl --insecure -X GET --header 'Accept: application/json' --header 'Authorization: Basic abc123abc123abc123' \

# returns:
{"aaa-secure-string":"lorem ipsum dolor sit amet"}

Additional Information

See Also

Additional resources and information related to this Knowledge Base article.


v4.0 and newer


secure params, encrypted params, password, secret, hidden, showable

Revision Information

KB Article     :  kb-00060
initial release:  Sat Mar 20 10:25:49 PDT 2021
updated release:  Sat Mar 20 10:25:49 PDT 2021