Secure Microservices with Kong and Ory by@gen1us2k

Secure Microservices with Kong and Ory

API gateways are available from cloud providers such as AWS/Azure/Google Cloud Platform and Cloudflare. Kong is a scalable API gateway built on open source and can be an excellent alternative if you don't want to have your system locked into a particular vendor. This tutorial shows an example using Kong API gateway, [Ory Kratos/Oathkeeper and Ory Oathkeeper. The illustration below shows the final architecture we are going to build in this guide. The full source code for this tutorial is available on [github.com/gen1us2k/kong_showcase)
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Andrew Minkin

Software Engineer

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Microservice architecture is nowadays almost a standard for backend development. An API gateway is an excellent way to connect a group of microservices to a single API accessible to users. API gateways are available from cloud providers such as AWS/Azure/Google Cloud Platform and Cloudflare. Kong is a scalable API gateway built on open source and can be an excellent alternative if you don't want to have your system locked into a particular vendor.


This tutorial shows an example using Kong API gateway, Ory Kratos, and Ory Oathkeeper. The illustration below shows you the final architecture we are going to build in this guide


image




The full source code for this tutorial is available on github

What we will use

  • Kong gateway can be an excellent solution for an ingress load balancer and API gateway if you do not want vendor lock-in of any cloud API Gateways in your application. Kong uses OpenResty and Lua. OpenResty extends Nginx with Lua scripting to use Nginx's event model for non-blocking I/O with HTTP clients and remote backends like PostgreSQL, Memcached, and Redis. OpenResty is not an Nginx fork, and Kong is not an Openresty fork. Kong uses OpenResty to enable API gateway features.
  • Oathkeeper acts like an identity and access proxy for our microservices. It allows us to proxy only authenticated requests to our microservices, so we don't need to implement middleware to check authentication. It can also transform requests, for example, convert session auth into JWT for a back-end service.
  • Kratos is the authentication provider; it handles all first-party authentication flows: username/password, forgot password, MFA/2FA, and more. It also provides OIDC/social login capabilities for example, "Login with GitHub".

Building simple microservices

Let's say we have two microservices: hello and world. They are pretty simple and serve only to test our API gateway, but you can switch them out for more complex components.

The "World" microservice exposes a /world API endpoint and returns a simple JSON message:

package main

import (
	"encoding/json"
	"log"
	"net/http"
)

type Response struct {
	Message string `json:"message"`
}

func helloJSON(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	response := Response{Message: "World microservice"}
	w.Header().Set("Content-type", "application/json")
	w.WriteHeader(http.StatusOK)
	json.NewEncoder(w).Encode(response)
}
func main() {
	http.HandleFunc("/world", helloJSON)
	log.Fatal(http.ListenAndServe(":8090", nil))

}


The "Hello" microservice exposes a /hello API endpoint and returns a simple JSON message:

package main

import (
	"encoding/json"
	"log"
	"net/http"
)

type Response struct {
	Message string `json:"message"`
}

func helloJSON(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	response := Response{Message: "Hello microservice"}
	w.Header().Set("Content-type", "application/json")
	w.WriteHeader(http.StatusOK)
	json.NewEncoder(w).Encode(response)
}
func main() {
	http.HandleFunc("/hello", helloJSON)
	log.Fatal(http.ListenAndServe(":8090", nil))

}

We now want to secure access to these microservices and let only authenticated users access these endpoints.

image


Okay. Let's start hacking, shall we?

Ory Kratos setup

Follow the Quickstart guide to set up Ory Kratos. In this tutorial, you only need a docker-compose file with the following configuration:

  postgres-kratos:
    image: postgres:9.6
    ports:
      - "5432:5432"
    environment:
      - POSTGRES_USER=kratos
      - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=secret
      - POSTGRES_DB=kratos
    networks:
      - intranet

  kratos-migrate:
    image: oryd/kratos:v0.8.0-alpha.3
    links:
      - postgres-kratos:postgres-kratos
    environment:
      - DSN=postgres://kratos:[email protected]:5432/kratos?sslmode=disable&max_conns=20&max_idle_conns=4
    networks:
      - intranet
    volumes:
      - type: bind
        source: ./kratos
        target: /etc/config/kratos
    command: -c /etc/config/kratos/kratos.yml migrate sql -e --yes

  kratos:
    image: oryd/kratos:v0.8.0-alpha.3
    links:
      - postgres-kratos:postgres-kratos
    environment:
      - DSN=postgres://kratos:[email protected]:5432/kratos?sslmode=disable&max_conns=20&max_idle_conns=4
    ports:
      - '4433:4433'
      - '4434:4434'
    volumes:
      - type: bind
        source: ./kratos
        target: /etc/config/kratos
    networks:
      - intranet
    command: serve -c /etc/config/kratos/kratos.yml --dev --watch-courier

  kratos-selfservice-ui-node:
    image: oryd/kratos-selfservice-ui-node:v0.8.0-alpha.3
    environment:
      - KRATOS_PUBLIC_URL=http://kratos:4433/
      - KRATOS_BROWSER_URL=http://127.0.0.1:4433/
    networks:
      - intranet
    ports:
      - "4455:3000"
    restart: on-failure


  mailslurper:
    image: oryd/mailslurper:latest-smtps
    ports:
      - '4436:4436'
      - '4437:4437'
    networks:
      - intranet

Some notes on the network architecture:

  • HTTP :4433 and :4434 are the public and admin API's of Ory Kratos.
  • HTTP :4436 for Mailslurper - a mock Email server. You can get an activation link by accessing http://127.0.0.1:4436.
  • HTTP :4455 for the UI interface that allows one to start sign-up/login/recovery flows.

After running docker-compose up you can open http://127.0.0.1:4455/welcome to test your configuration.

Configuring Ory Oathkeeper

Now we can start configuring our gateways for this example. Kong is the entry point for the network traffic. Ory Oathkeeper would be accessible from the internal network only in this case. Let's review our architecture diagram from before:

image


Oathkeeper checks sessions and proxies traffic to our microservice while Kong provides ingress load balancing. We can even set up Round-Robin DNS to have a more robust configuration for our service. Here is how we configure the access rules for Ory Oathkeeper:


-
  id: "api:hello-protected"
  upstream:
    preserve_host: true
    url: "http://hello:8090"
  match:
    url: "http://oathkeeper:4455/hello"
    methods:
      - GET
  authenticators:
    -
      handler: cookie_session
  mutators:
    - handler: noop
  authorizer:
    handler: allow
  errors:
    - handler: redirect
      config:
        to: http://127.0.0.1:4455/login
-
  id: "api:world-protected"
  upstream:
    preserve_host: true
    url: "http://world:8090"
  match:
    url: "http://oathkeeper:4455/world"
    methods:
      - GET
  authenticators:
    -
      handler: cookie_session
  mutators:
    - handler: noop
  authorizer:
    handler: allow
  errors:
    - handler: redirect
      config:
        to: http://127.0.0.1:4455/login

The Ory Oathkeeper configuration:

log:
  level: debug
  format: json

serve:
  proxy:
    cors:
      enabled: true
      allowed_origins:
        - "*"
      allowed_methods:
        - POST
        - GET
        - PUT
        - PATCH
        - DELETE
      allowed_headers:
        - Authorization
        - Content-Type
      exposed_headers:
        - Content-Type
      allow_credentials: true
      debug: true

errors:
  fallback:
    - json

  handlers:
    redirect:
      enabled: true
      config:
        to: http://127.0.0.1:4455/login
        when:
          -
            error:
              - unauthorized
              - forbidden
            request:
              header:
                accept:
                  - text/html
    json:
      enabled: true
      config:
        verbose: true

access_rules:
  matching_strategy: glob
  repositories:
    - file:///etc/config/oathkeeper/access-rules.yml

authenticators:
  anonymous:
    enabled: true
    config:
      subject: guest

  cookie_session:
    enabled: true
    config:
      check_session_url: http://kratos:4433/sessions/whoami
      preserve_path: true
      extra_from: "@this"
      subject_from: "identity.id"
      only:
        - ory_kratos_session

  noop:
    enabled: true

authorizers:
  allow:
    enabled: true

mutators:
  noop:
    enabled: true

Ory Oathkeeper now looks up a valid session in the request cookies and proxies only authenticated requests. It redirects to login UI if there's no ory_kratos_session cookie available.

Adding Kong

Now all that is needed is to configure Kong:

services:
  kong-migrations:
    image: "kong:latest"
    command: kong migrations bootstrap
    depends_on:
      - db
    environment:
      <<: *kong-env
    networks:
      - intranet
    restart: on-failure

  kong:
    platform: linux/arm64
    image: "kong:latest"
    environment:
      <<: *kong-env
      KONG_ADMIN_ACCESS_LOG: /dev/stdout
      KONG_ADMIN_ERROR_LOG: /dev/stderr
      KONG_PROXY_LISTEN: "${KONG_PROXY_LISTEN:-0.0.0.0:8000}"
      KONG_ADMIN_LISTEN: "${KONG_ADMIN_LISTEN:-0.0.0.0:8001}"
      KONG_PROXY_ACCESS_LOG: /dev/stdout
      KONG_PROXY_ERROR_LOG: /dev/stderr
      KONG_PREFIX: ${KONG_PREFIX:-/var/run/kong}
      KONG_DECLARATIVE_CONFIG: "/opt/kong/kong.yaml"
    networks:
      - intranet
    ports:
      # The following two environment variables default to an insecure value (0.0.0.0)
      # according to the CIS Security test.
      - "${KONG_INBOUND_PROXY_LISTEN:-0.0.0.0}:8000:8000/tcp"
      - "${KONG_INBOUND_SSL_PROXY_LISTEN:-0.0.0.0}:8443:8443/tcp"
      - "127.0.0.1:8001:8001/tcp"
      - "127.0.0.1:8444:8444/tcp"
    healthcheck:
      test: ["CMD", "kong", "health"]
      interval: 10s
      timeout: 10s
      retries: 10
    restart: on-failure:5
    read_only: true
    volumes:
      - kong_prefix_vol:${KONG_PREFIX:-/var/run/kong}
      - kong_tmp_vol:/tmp
      - ./config:/opt/kong
    security_opt:
      - no-new-privileges

  db:
    image: postgres:9.6
    environment:
      POSTGRES_DB: kong
      POSTGRES_USER: kong
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: kong
    healthcheck:
      test: ["CMD", "pg_isready", "-U", "kong"]
      interval: 30s
      timeout: 30s
      retries: 3
    restart: on-failure
    networks:
      - intranet

  hello:

The docker-compose creates three containers

  • db container with PostgreSQL database to store the configuration of services/routes for our API gateway.
  • kong-migrate to run migrations against the database.
  • kong container that exposes 8000 port for proxying traffic and 8001 port with admin API.

As the last step, we need to create a service for Kong and configure routes.

#!/bin/bash

# Creates an secure-api service
# and proxies network traffic to oathkeeper
curl -i -X POST \
  --url http://localhost:8001/services/ \
  --data 'name=secure-api' \
  --data 'url=http://oathkeeper:4455'

# Creates routes for secure-api service
curl -i -X POST \
  --url http://localhost:8001/services/secure-api/routes \
  --data 'paths[]=/'\

Testing

You can open http://127.0.0.1:8000/hello or http://127.0.0.1:8000/world in your browser and there are two possible scenarios:

Further steps


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