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encrypted_attributes (9) Versions 0.6.0

Installs and enables chef-encrypted-attributes gem: Chef plugin to add Node encrypted attributes support using client keys.

cookbook 'encrypted_attributes', '~> 0.6.0', :supermarket
cookbook 'encrypted_attributes', '~> 0.6.0'
knife supermarket install encrypted_attributes
knife supermarket download encrypted_attributes
Quality 17%


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Inline docs

Installs and enables chef-encrypted-attributes gem: Chef plugin to add Node encrypted attributes support using client keys.


Supported Platforms

This cookbook has been tested on the following platforms:

  • Amazon Linux
  • CentOS
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • FreeBSD
  • openSUSE
  • RedHat
  • SUSE
  • Ubuntu

Please, let us know if you use it successfully on any other platform.

Required Cookbooks

Required Applications

  • Ruby 1.9.3 or higher.

See also the requirements of the chef-encrypted-attributes gem.


Attribute Default Description
node['encrypted_attributes']['version'] calculated chef-encrypted-attributes gem version to install. The latest stable version is installed by default.
node['encrypted_attributes']['mirror'] nil chef-encrypted-attributes mirror to download the gem from. For cases where you do not want to use RubyGems.
node['encrypted_attributes']['data_bag']['name'] 'global' chef-encrypted-attributes user keys, data bag name.
node['encrypted_attributes']['data_bag']['item'] 'chef_users' chef-encrypted-attributes user keys, data bag item name.
node['dev_mode'] calculated If this is true, the Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers library will work with unencrypted attributes instead of encrypted attributes. For testing purposes.



Installs and loads the chef-encrypted-attributes gem.


Exposes the Client Public Key in attributes. This is a workaround for the Chef Clients Limitation problem. Should be included by all nodes that need to have read privileges on the attributes.


Configures chef-encrypted-attributes Chef User keys reading them from a data bag. This is a workaround for the Chef Users Limitation problem.

Helper Libraries

See the Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers documentation.

Usage Examples

Including in a Cookbook Recipe

You can simply include it in a recipe:

include_recipe 'encrypted_attributes'

Don't forget to include the encrypted_attributes cookbook as a dependency in the metadata.

# metadata.rb
# [...]

depends 'encrypted_attributes'

Including in the Run List

Another alternative is to include the default recipe in your Run List:

  "name": "",
  "[...]": "[...]",
  "run_list": [

encrypted_attributes::default Recipe Usage Example

include_recipe 'encrypted_attributes'

# include the #secure_password method
self.class.send(:include, Opscode::OpenSSL::Password)

if Chef::EncryptedAttribute.exists?(node['myapp']['ftp_password'])
  # update with the new keys

  # read the password
  ftp_pass = Chef::EncryptedAttribute.load(node['myapp']['ftp_password'])
  # create the password and save it
  ftp_pass = secure_password
  node.set['myapp']['ftp_password'] = Chef::EncryptedAttribute.create(ftp_pass)

# use `ftp_pass` for something here ...
Chef::Log.debug("FTP password: #{ftp_pass}")

You can also use the Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers helpers to simplify its use:

include_recipe 'encrypted_attributes'
self.class.send(:include, Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers)

ftp_pass = encrypted_attribute_write(%w(myapp ftp_password)) do
  self.class.send(:include, Opscode::OpenSSL::Password)

Chef::Log.debug("FTP password: #{ftp_pass}")

Note: This example requires the openssl cookbook.

See the chef-encrypted-attributes gem Usage section for more examples.

encrypted_attributes::users_data_bag Recipe Usage Example

This recipe should be called before using the encrypted attributes. It sets the Chef::Config[:encrypted_attributes][:keys] option reading the keys from a data bag.

Before using this recipe, you must create the required data bag:

$ knife data bag create global_data chef_users

You should create a data bag item with the following format:

  "id": "chef_users",
  "bob": "-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----\nMIIBIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFA...",
  "alice": "-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----\nMIIBIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFA..."

The keys can be set in array of strings format if you prefer:

  "id": "chef_users",
  "bob": [
    "-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----",
  "alice": [
    "-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----",

You can retrieve user public keys with knife user show USER -a public_key -f json.

Then, you can use this data bag to configure the Chef::Config[:encrypted_attributes][:keys] chef-encrypted-attributes configuration only by calling the recipe:

node.default['encrypted_attributes']['data_bag']['name'] = 'global_data'
include_recipe 'encrypted_attributes::users_data_bag'

# if Chef::EncryptedAttribute.exist?(...)
#   Chef::EncryptedAttribute.update(...)
# else
#   node.set[...][...] = Chef::EncryptedAttribute.create(...)
# ...

Note: This data bag does not need to be encrypted, because it only stores public keys.

Using Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers to Encrypt MySQL Passwords

In the following example we use the official mysql cookbook and its mysql_service resource to save the password encrypted in the following attribute:

  • node['myapp']['mysql']['server_root_password']
# Include the #secure_password method from the openssl cookbook
self.class.send(:include, Opscode::OpenSSL::Password)

# Install Encrypted Attributes gem
include_recipe 'encrypted_attributes'

# Include the Encrypted Attributes cookbook helpers
self.class.send(:include, Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers)

# We can use an attribute to enable or disable encryption
# (recommended for tests)
# self.encrypted_attributes_enabled = node['myapp']['encrypt_attributes']

# Encrypted Attributes will be generated randomly and saved in the
# `node['myapp']['mysql']["server_#{user}_password"]` attribute encrypted.
def generate_mysql_password(user)
  key = "server_#{user}_password"
  encrypted_attribute_write(['myapp', 'mysql', key]) { secure_password }

# Generate the encrypted root password
mysql_root_password = generate_mysql_password('root')

mysql_service 'default' do
  initial_root_password mysql_root_password

  # Some optional parameters:
  data_dir node['myapp']['mysql']['data_dir']
  initial_root_password root_password
  bind_address ''
  port node['myapp']['mysql']['port']
  run_group node['myapp']['mysql']['run_group']
  run_user node['myapp']['mysql']['run_user']
  version node['myapp']['mysql']['version']
  # [...]

  action [:create, :start]

Note: This example is for the mysql cookbook version ~> 6.0.




Please do not hesitate to open an issue with any questions or problems.




License and Author

Author: Xabier de Zuazo (
Contributor: Crystal Hsiung
Contributor: Lisa Danz
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2014-2015, Onddo Labs, SL. (
License: Apache License, Version 2.0
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.

encrypted_attributes CHANGELOG

This file is used to list changes made in each version of the encrypted_attributes cookbook.

v0.6.0 (2015-05-23)

New features:

  • Improve 0.6.0, 0.7.0 gem version support (issue #2, thanks Lisa Danz).
  • Add SUSE as supported platform.
  • Add ChefGem#compile_time(true) call to avoid Chef 12.1 warning.


  • Refactor kitchen.yml file using ERB.
  • Update RuboCop to version 0.31.0.


  • Update links to point to
    • Fix "chef users limitation" link.
    • Fix all RuboCop offenses in examples.
    • Update mysql cookbook example.

v0.5.1 (2015-04-01)

  • Set ffi_yajl version to 1.0.2 (issue #1, thanks @chhsiung).
  • Berksfile: Fix my_cookbook variable value.
  • Gemfile: update vagrant-wrapper to 2.

v0.5.0 (2014-12-15)

  • Add ::expose_key recipe.
  • Update to work with chef-encrypted-attributes gem 0.4.0.
    • Use build-essential and install gem depends only when required.
    • Add Chef::EncryptedAttributesRequirements class.
    • Install gem dependencies explicitly.
  • Fix gem specific and prerelease versions install.
  • Fix integration tests for Chef 12.0.0 and 12.0.1.
  • encrypted_attributes_test: Save the attribute as normal.
  • kitchen: Add suites for previous gem, Chef 11.12, 11.16 and Chef 12.
  • Update to RuboCop 0.28.0.
  • travis.yml: Use the new build env.
  • Gemfile: Use fixed foodcritic and RuboCop versions.
  • Add Ruby documentation, integrated with yard and inch.
    • Move Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers documentation to gem docs.
  • README: Add inch-ci documentation badge.

v0.4.0 (2014-11-08)

  • Allow Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers to be used from LWRPs.
  • Enable apt compile time update, required by build-essential.
  • FreeBSD compiletime attribute changed to compiletime_portsnap.
  • Add more unit tests: coverage 100%.
  • Integrate tests with
  • Integrate tests with should_not gem.
  • Fix new RuboCop offenses.
  • Update to ChefSpec 4.1.
  • Update file.
    • Add Guarfile requirements.
    • Use DO access token and some titles changed.

v0.3.0 (2014-10-21)

  • Add FreeBSD support
  • Berksfile, Rakefile and Guarfile, generic templates copied
  • Added rubocop.yml with AllCops:Include
    • Add an example to encrypt MySQL passwords
    • Always include encrypted_attributes recipe to force compile time build-essentials
    • Use single quotes in examples
    • Use markdown for tables
  • Add LICENSE file
  • kitchen.yml: remove empty attributes key
  • License headers homogenized

v0.2.2 (2014-10-02)

  • Added platform support documentation
  • kitchen.yml file updated
  • Rakefile: rubocop enabled
  • Gemfile:
    • Replaced vagrant by vagrant-wrapper
    • Added vagrant-wrapper version with pessimistic operator
    • Berkshelf updated to 3.1
  • Guardfile added
  • TODO: use checkboxes

v0.2.1 (2014-08-28)

  • EncryptedAttributesHelpers bugfix: avoid on chef-solo
  • EncryptedAttributesHelpers: some code duplication removed
  • README: added gemnasium and codeclimate badges

v0.2.0 (2014-08-26)

  • encrypted_attributes_test::default: node#save unless chef-solo
  • Gemfile:
    • RSpec ~> 2.14.0 to avoid uninitialized constant RSpec::Matchers::BuiltIn::RaiseError::MatchAliases error
    • Updates: ChefSpec 4 and foodcritic 4
    • Added chef-encrypted-attributes gem for unit tests
    • Gemfile clean up
    • README file split in multiple files
    • Replace community links by Supermarket links
    • Fixed ::users_data_bag example using #exist? instead of #exists_on_node?
    • Added a link to chef-encrypted-attributes gem requirements
    • Multiple small fixes and improvements
  • ::default: avoid gem install error when no version is specified
  • Install gcc dependency (build-essential cookbook)
  • Added Chef::EncryptedAttributesHelpers helper library
    • Added EncryptedAttributesHelpers unit tests
  • Added RuboCop checking, all offenses fixed
  • TODO: added verify gem task
  • test/kitchen directory removed

v0.1.0 (2014-05-22)

  • Initial release of encrypted_attributes

Collaborator Number Metric

0.6.0 failed this metric

Failure: Cookbook has 1 collaborators. A cookbook must have at least 2 collaborators to pass this metric.

Contributing File Metric

0.6.0 failed this metric

Failure: To pass this metric, your cookbook metadata must include a source url, the source url must be in the form of, and your repo must contain a file

Foodcritic Metric

0.6.0 failed this metric

FC064: Ensure issues_url is set in metadata: encrypted_attributes/metadata.rb:1
FC065: Ensure source_url is set in metadata: encrypted_attributes/metadata.rb:1
FC066: Ensure chef_version is set in metadata: encrypted_attributes/metadata.rb:1
FC069: Ensure standardized license defined in metadata: encrypted_attributes/metadata.rb:1
FC072: Metadata should not contain "attribute" keyword: encrypted_attributes/metadata.rb:1
FC075: Cookbook uses to save partial node data to the chef-server mid-run: encrypted_attributes/libraries/encrypted_attributes_helpers.rb:165
FC075: Cookbook uses to save partial node data to the chef-server mid-run: encrypted_attributes/recipes/expose_key.rb:29
FC121: Cookbook depends on cookbook made obsolete by Chef 14: encrypted_attributes/metadata.rb:1
FC122: Use the build_essential resource instead of the recipe: encrypted_attributes/recipes/default.rb:26
Run with Foodcritic Version 16.3.0 with tags metadata,correctness ~FC031 ~FC045 and failure tags any

No Binaries Metric

0.6.0 passed this metric

Testing File Metric

0.6.0 failed this metric

Failure: To pass this metric, your cookbook metadata must include a source url, the source url must be in the form of, and your repo must contain a file

Version Tag Metric

0.6.0 failed this metric

Failure: To pass this metric, your cookbook metadata must include a source url, the source url must be in the form of, and your repo must include a tag that matches this cookbook version number