Operations

Generate Root Tokens Using Unseal Keys

It is generally considered a best practice to not persist root tokens. Instead a root token should be generated using Vault's operator generate-root command only when absolutely necessary. This guide demonstrates regenerating a root token.

First, make sure to unseal the vault using the existing quorum of unseal keys. You do not need to be authenticated to generate a new root token, but the Vault must be unsealed and a quorum of unseal keys must be available.

$ vault operator unseal
# ...

» Using OTP

In this method, an OTP is XORed with the generated token on final output.

Generate a one-time password (OTP) to use for XORing the resulting token:

$ vault operator generate-root -generate-otp

mOXx7iVimjE6LXQ2Zna6NA==

Save this OTP because you will need it to get the decoded final root token.

Initialize a root token generation, providing the OTP code from the step above:

$ vault operator generate-root -init -otp=mOXx7iVimjE6LXQ2Zna6NA==

Nonce              f67f4da3-4ae4-68fb-4716-91da6b609c3e
Started            true
Progress           0/5
Complete           false

The nonce value should be distributed to all unseal key holders.

Each unseal key holder provides their unseal key:

$ vault operator generate-root

Root generation operation nonce: f67f4da3-4ae4-68fb-4716-91da6b609c3e
Unseal Key (will be hidden): ...

If there is a tty, Vault will prompt for the key and automatically complete the nonce value. If there is no tty, or if the value is piped from stdin, the user must specify the nonce value from the -init operation.

$ echo $UNSEAL_KEY | vault operator generate-root -nonce=f67f4da3... -

When the quorum of unseal keys are supplied, the final user will also get the encoded root token.

$ vault operator generate-root

Root generation operation nonce: f67f4da3-4ae4-68fb-4716-91da6b609c3e
Unseal Key (will be hidden):

Nonce         f67f4da3-4ae4-68fb-4716-91da6b609c3e
Started       true
Progress      5/5
Complete      true
Root Token    IxJpyqxn3YafOGhqhvP6cQ==

Decode the encoded token using the OTP:

$ vault operator generate-root \
   -decode=IxJpyqxn3YafOGhqhvP6cQ== \
   -otp=mOXx7iVimjE6LXQ2Zna6NA==

24bde68f-3df3-e137-cf4d-014fe9ebc43f

» Using PGP

Initialize a root token generation, providing the path to a GPG public key or keybase username of a user to encrypted the resulting token.

$ vault operator generate-root -init -pgp-key=keybase:sethvargo

Nonce              e24dec5e-f1ea-2dfe-ecce-604022006976
Started            true
Progress           0/5
Complete           false
PGP Fingerprint    e2f8e2974623ba2a0e933a59c921994f9c27e0ff

The nonce value should be distributed to all unseal key holders.

Each unseal key holder providers their unseal key:

$ vault operator generate-root

Root generation operation nonce: e24dec5e-f1ea-2dfe-ecce-604022006976
Unseal Key (will be hidden): ...

If there is a tty, Vault will prompt for the key and automatically complete the nonce value. If there is no tty, or if the value is piped from stdin, the user must specify the nonce value from the -init operation.

$ echo $UNSEAL_KEY | vault operator generate-root -nonce=f67f4da3... -

When the quorum of unseal keys are supplied, the final user will also get the encoded root token.

$ vault operator generate-root

Root generation operation nonce: e24dec5e-f1ea-2dfe-ecce-604022006976
Unseal Key (will be hidden):

Nonce              e24dec5e-f1ea-2dfe-ecce-604022006976
Started            true
Progress           1/1
Complete           true
PGP Fingerprint    e2f8e2974623ba2a0e933a59c921994f9c27e0ff
Root Token         wcFMA0RVkFtoqzRlARAAI3Ux8kdSpfgXdF9mg...

Decrypt the encrypted token using associated private key:

$ echo "wcFMA0RVkFtoqzRlARAAI3Ux8kdSpfgXdF9mg..." | base64 --decode | gpg --decrypt

d0f71e9b-ebff-6d8a-50ae-b8859f2e5671

or via keybase:

$ echo "wcFMA0RVkFtoqzRlARAAI3Ux8kdSpfgXdF9mg..." | base64 --decode | keybase pgp decrypt

d0f71e9b-ebff-6d8a-50ae-b8859f2e5671