Install Gloo Mesh Istio FIPS

Gloo Mesh Enterprise is required for this feature. Open source users and users who do not require the functionality provided by Gloo Mesh Istio can use Gloo Mesh with an upstream Istio release and should refer to our guide on installing Istio.

Some of our users run Istio in regulated environments like FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) or they run Istio for software that supports running in those environments. Gloo Mesh offers FIPS builds of upstream Istio without the need for any additional tooling or CLIs. You can stick with the upstream-native Istio tooling (like istioctl or IstioOperator) and prefer to use FIPS builds of Istio.

The quickest way to get started with FIPS Istio is to use one of our supported builds. Just run the following command:

istioctl install --set --set tag=1.8.5-fips

If using an IstioOperator file, it would look something like this:

kind: IstioOperator
  name: gloo-mesh-istio
  namespace: istio-system
  # This value is required for Gloo Mesh Istio
  # This value can be any Gloo Mesh Istio tag
  tag: 1.8.5-fips
... additional config here ...  

After installation, you should see something like the following in your istio-system namespace:

NAME                                   READY   STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
istio-ingressgateway-d487ffdd9-5vsnd   1/1     Running   0          67s
istiod-944958c47-9wvjl                 1/1     Running   0          91s

For most auditors, both the control plane AND the data plane must be in FIPS compliant mode. We can verify that by checking the versions of Envoy and istiod. To verify the data plane, run the following command which checks the Envoy Proxy version:

kubectl exec -it -n istio-system deploy/istio-ingressgateway -- /usr/local/bin/envoy --version

An appropriate response should look like this:

/usr/local/bin/envoy  version: fa9fd362c488508a661d2ffa66e66976bb9104c3/1.15.1/Clean/RELEASE/BoringSSL-FIPS

To verify the control plane components, we will copy the pilot-discovery binary out of the istiod container and run goversion against it. You can install goversion with this simple command:

go get

First, copy the binary out to local disk:

kubectl cp istio-system/<pod-name>:/usr/local/bin/pilot-discovery /tmp/pilot-discovery && chmod +x /tmp/pilot-discovery

Then run the following:

goversion -crypto /tmp/pilot-discovery

You should see something similar to:

/tmp/pilot-discovery go1.14.12b4 (boring crypto)

RSA 4096 key sizes

FIPS 140-2 originally didn't allow for key sizes 4096 but that has been revised in recent addendums. With Gloo Mesh Istio's FIPS builds, you can run the control plane in strict adherence to 140-2 or in a mode that supports 4096 key sizes. For strict mode, you can append -fipsonly to the build tag.

If you run in strict mode (-fipsonly), when you verify the control plane you will see something like this:

/tmp/pilot-discovery go1.14.12b4 (boring crypto) +crypto/tls/fipsonly

This mode will not allow keys up to 4096.

Otherwise you will see:

/tmp/pilot-discovery go1.14.12b4 (boring crypto)

Which will allow 4096 keys.

If you see:

/tmp/pilot-discovery go1.14.14 (standard crypto)

Then you are NOT running a FIPS build of Istio.

Distroless builds of FIPS

Typically a container should just contain the application and its required dependencies but in reality it contains a lot of other things (shell, package manager, build tools, OS utilities, etc). All of these additional capabilities in the container image increase your exposure to CVEs/vulnerabilities. Google opensourced an approach to stripping out any additional cruft from your images except for the necessary application and immediate dependencies called distroless.

For example, to install the distroless version of FIPS Istio:

istioctl install --set --set tag=1.8.5-fips-distroless

Keep in mind there are some challenges around distroless builds, but luckily we have some solutions.

Which version is right for you?

We have FIPS builds of various versions of Istio upstream and we can get you the exact version you're looking for. Our pipeline is automated, goes through all of the upstream tests, scanning, and validation steps as well as our own internal gates.

You can see some of the FIPS builds here but please reach out for the version you need

Next steps

Now that we have Istio and Gloo Mesh installed (and appropriate clusters registered), we can continue to explore the discovery capabilities of Gloo Mesh.