Field Level Encryption from the Node.js SDK

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    A practical guide for getting started with Field-Level Encryption, showing how to encrypt and decrypt JSON fields using the Node.js SDK.

    For a high-level overview of this feature, see our Encryption page.

    Packaging

    The Node.js SDK works together with the Node Couchbase Encryption library to provide support for encryption and decryption of JSON fields. This library includes cryptographic algorithms you can use out of the box, and provides a framework for implementing your own crypto components.

    The encryption code is packaged as an optional library and is subject to the Couchbase License and Enterprise Subscription License agreements. To use the encryption library, you have to explicitly include this dependency in your project configuration.

    To get started with the Node encryption library you can fetch it using:

    $ npm i cbfieldcrypt

    Configuration

    The Node.js Field-Level Encryption library works on the principle of Encrypters and Decrypters which can be packaged within a Provider, as well as a custom Transcoder. Encrypters and Decrypters are registered with a CryptoManager and are then used at serialization/deserialization time to encrypt and decrypt fields.

    Here we’ll go through an example of setting up and using the Node Field-Level Encryption library.

    To begin we need to create a couple of keys, you should not use the InsecureKeyring other than for evaluation purposes and should keep your keys secure.

      const keyBuffer = Buffer.from(
        '000102030405060708090a0b0c0d0e0f' +
        '101112131415161718191a1b1c1d1e1f' +
        '202122232425262728292a2b2c2d2e2f' +
        '303132333435363738393a3b3c3d3e3f',
        'hex'
      ); // output in string format: 123456789:;<=>?
    
      const key1 = new keyring.Key("mykey", keyBuffer);
      const key2 = new keyring.Key("myotherkey", keyBuffer);
    
      // Create an insecure keyring and add two keys.
      const insecureKeyring = new keyring.InsecureKeyring(key1, key2);

    Now that we have keys we can create a Provider (here we use the AeadAes256CbcHmacSha512 algorithm which is the default supplied by the library). The Provider gives us a way to easily create multiple encrypters for the same algorithm but different keys. At this point we also create CryptoManager and register our encrypters and decrypters with it.

      // Create a provider.
      // AES-256 authenticated with HMAC SHA-512. Requires a 64-byte key.
      const provider = new aesprovider.AeadAes256CbcHmacSha512Provider(insecureKeyring);
    
      // Create the manager and add the providers.
      const mgr = new crypto.DefaultCryptoManager();
    
      // We need to create and then register encrypters.
      // The key ID here is used by the encrypter to lookup the key from the store when encrypting a document.
      // The key ID returned from the store at encryption time is written into the data for the field to be encrypted.
      // The key ID that was written is then used on the decrypt side to find the corresponding key from the store.
      const keyOneEncrypter = provider.encrypterForKey(key1.id);
      const keyTwoEncrypter = provider.encrypterForKey(key2.id);
    
      // We register the providers for both encryption and decryption.
      // The alias used here is the value which corresponds to the "encryptionKey" field property
      // in the CryptoSchema.
      mgr.registerEncrypter('one', keyOneEncrypter);
      mgr.registerEncrypter('two', keyTwoEncrypter);
    
      // We don't need to add a default encryptor but if we do then any fields with an
      // empty encryption key will use this encryptor.
      mgr.defaultEncrypter(keyOneEncrypter);
    
      // We only set one decrypter per algorithm.
      // The crypto manager will work out which decrypter to use based on the `alg` field embedded in the field data.
      // The decrypter will use the key ID embedded in the field data to determine which key to fetch from the key store for decryption
      mgr.registerDecrypter(provider.decrypter());

    Usage

    Sensitive fields in your data classes can be encrypted by using a CryptoSchema. For example:

      // CryptoSchema is used to register which fields to apply the encryption to.
      const schema = mgr.newCryptoSchema({
        fields: {
          'password': {
            encryptionKey: 'one'
          },
          'addresses': {
            fields: {
              'houseName': {
                encryptionKey: 'one'
              },
              'street': {
                fields: {
                  'secondLine': {
                    encryptionKey: 'two'
                  }
                }
              },
              'attributes': {
                fields: {
                  'action': {
                    encryptionKey: 'two'
                  }
                }
              }
            },
            encryptionKey: 'two'
          },
          'phone': {
            encryptionKey: '',
          }
        }
      });

    Now let’s create a person document and save it to Couchbase:

      const person = {
        firstName: 'Barry',
        lastName: 'Sheen',
        password: 'bang!',
        addresses: [
          {
            houseName: 'my house',
            street: [
              {
                firstLine: 'my street',
                secondLine: 'my second line'
              }
            ]
          },
          {
            houseName: 'my other house'
          }
        ],
        phone: '123456'
      };
    
      const encryptedDoc = schema.encrypt(person);
      await collection.upsert("p1", encryptedDoc);

    You can get the document to verify the fields were encrypted:

      const result = await collection.get("p1");
      const resData = result.content;
      console.log(JSON.stringify(resData, null, "  "));

    The expected output is something like:

    {
      firstName: 'Barry',
      lastName: 'Sheen',
      'encrypted$password': {
        alg: 'AEAD_AES_256_CBC_HMAC_SHA512',
        kid: 'mykey',
        ciphertext: 'iO2fCmlRqY5D55j8MemFwhMDIAQ33j8XRpcpFANSXmI7HHmlHUopfu7plkH1K128XDDIbLtcaIM9yghmYNXoYA=='
      },
      'encrypted$addresses': {
        alg: 'AEAD_AES_256_CBC_HMAC_SHA512',
        kid: 'mykey',
        ciphertext: '2T+W+xXVw6TnJJV5fOxpG7WMo26qScROtqc7qjkoSpPrhe4mrCOxfFBFSg8xDzIB/gG+jlWQp8zDWYGIbRVnnoL+sWINdL7Rr7x228fDGjQ4Cu2heqmBkCHueQusuFx1pxo1TLtrUomtqLZB46G3s4WOeg5T4Z9vRfbSwOu9ryf2LVo8rsWf05Vhz5901celbK5L8uX/+HcSULoG2f1C2Qkd5bV/P9ZaO7I9duaUbA0='
      },
      'encrypted$phone': {
        alg: 'AEAD_AES_256_CBC_HMAC_SHA512',
        kid: 'mykey',
        ciphertext: 'M7ao4qp/8t4TKjmHU51xLNSa2h0ydiLfSvzauSfNDfnL/vAxOyYgNsvxMmbX33vMnD6BUe+zGCSo3v8C6fwM7g=='
      }
    }

    Now let’s decrypt the person document and output the result.

      const decryptedDoc = schema.decrypt(encryptedDoc);
      console.log(JSON.stringify(decryptedDoc, null, "  "));

    The output is now:

    {
      "firstName": "Barry",
      "lastName": "Sheen",
      "password": "bang!",
      "addresses": [
        {
          "houseName": "my house",
          "street": [
            {
              "firstLine": "my street",
              "secondLine": "my second line"
            }
          ]
        },
        {
          "houseName": "my other house"
        }
      ],
      "phone": "123456"
    }

    Migrating from SDK 2

    SDK 2 cannot read fields encrypted by SDK 3.

    It’s inadvisable to have both the old and new versions of your application active at the same time. The simplest way to migrate is to do an offline upgrade during a scheduled maintenance window. For an online upgrade without downtime, consider a blue-green deployment.

    SDK 3 requires additional configuration to read fields encrypted by SDK 2. The rest of this section describes how to configure Field-Level Encryption in SDK 3 for backwards compatibility with SDK 2.

    Changing the field name prefix

    In SDK 2, the default prefix for encrypted field names was __crypt_. This caused problems for Couchbase Sync Gateway, which does not like field names to begin with an underscore. In SDK 3, the default prefix is encrypted$.

    For compatibility with SDK 2, you can configure the CryptoManager to use the old __crypt_ prefix:

      const mgr = new crypto.DefaultCryptoManager({
        encryptedFieldPrefix: '__crypt_'
      })
    In SDK 2, only top-level fields could be encrypted. SDK 3 allows encrypting fields at any depth. If you decide to rename the existing fields, make sure to do so before writing any encrypted fields below the top level, otherwise it may be difficult to rename the nested fields using a generic N1QL statement.

    Enabling decrypters for legacy algorithms

    The encryption algorithms used by SDK 2 are deprecated, and are no longer used for encrypting new data. To enable decrypting fields written by SDK 2, register the legacy decrypters with the CryptoManager:

      const decrypter = new legacyaesdecrypter.LegacyAes256Decrypter(insecureKeyring, (publicKey) => {
        if (publicKey == "mykey") {
          return "myhmackey"
        }
    
        throw Error("unknown key")
      });
    
      mgr.registerDecrypter(decrypter);