FIPS 140-2 Compliance

Provision a Cluster in FIPS-140 Operating Mode

Developed by a working group of government and industry operators and vendors, the Federal Information Processing Standard, or FIPS, FIPS-140 defines security requirements for cryptographic modules. The standard provides for a wide spectrum of data sensitivity and transaction values and a diversity of application environment security situations. The standard specifies four security levels for each of 11 requirement areas, each successive level offering an increased security.

NIST introduced FIPS 140-2 validation by accredited third party laboratories as a formal and rigorous process to assist in protecting digitally-stored information that is sensitive, but does not fall under Federal security classifications.

FIPS Support in Konvoy

D2iQ Konvoy 1.7 introduces support for provisioning a FIPS enabled Kubernetes control plane. To achieve this, core Kubernetes components have been compiled using a version of Go (goboring) which was modified to use a FIPS certified cryptographic module for all cryptographic functions. The components covered in this release are:

  • kubeadm
  • kubelet
  • runc
  • containerd
  • kube-apiserver
  • kube-controller-manager
  • kube-proxy
  • kube-scheduler
  • etcd

Infrastructure Requirements for FIPS-140-2 Mode

To ensure proper operations in FIPS mode, be sure that your environment meets these requirements.

Supported Operating Systems

OS Version
Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS 7
Red Hat Enterprise Linux / CentOS 8

Before provisioning Konvoy, ensure that your OS or OS Images have been prepared for operating in FIPS mode.

Deploying a Cluster in FIPS-140-2 Mode

NOTE: You can only deploy a cluster in FIPS-140 mode at cluster inception. You cannot upgrade a cluster deployed in standard mode to FIPS mode. The reason for this is that standard cluster bootstrapping uses a number of cryptographic functions that are not FIPS-certified, which taints cluster compliance.

To launch a cluster in FIPS-140-2 mode, use the --mode fips argument. For example:

konvoy init --mode fips

This command creates a cluster.yaml file with all necessary modifications required to provision a cluster in FIPS mode. After the file is generated, you can provision the cluster as normal using konvoy up, provision, deploy.

You may also combine these steps with up --mode fips or provision --mode fips if you are performing a default install in FIPS mode.

Konvoy FIPS Verification Tool

FIPS-140 requires verification of the integrity of the cryptographic module at runtime, and by the operator on-demand at any time. Go programs compiled with goboring embed the cryptographic module inside the binary program package as a system object file. In this scenario, a copy of the cryptographic module exists for every FIPS-140 compliant binary we produce. To validate the integrity of the module, we calculate a 4096-bit RSA signature at build time for each binary. These signatures are stored in a manifest file which is signed and sealed within the Konvoy runtime.

For an operator to perform manual verification, we have provided the konvoy check fips command. When run, the command produces output similar to this:

Host: ===================================================================

/usr/bin/kubeadm [file] Signature Validated                            [OK]
/usr/bin/kubelet [file] Signature Validated                            [OK]
/usr/bin/containerd [file] Signature Validated                         [OK]
/usr/bin/runc [file] Signature Validated                               [OK]
kube-apiserver [image] Signature Validated                             [OK]
kube-controller-manager [image] Signature Validated                    [OK]
kube-proxy [image] Signature Validated                                 [OK]
kube-scheduler [image] Signature Validated                             [OK]
etcd [image] Signature Validated                                       [OK]

Service: kube-apiserver [localhost:6443]
Preferred Cipher: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
Supported Ciphers:





Service: etcd [localhost:2379]
Preferred Cipher: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
Supported Ciphers:





D2IQ cryptographic module integrity verification was successful

The above components are confirmed to be using the D2iQ BoringCrypto
Cryptographic Security Module. This module has been validated for FIPS 140-2
Level 1 by an accredited third party laboratory as mandated by the NIST CMVP.
The security policy and certificate for this module can be viewed at the
following URL:

The command returns 0 when the whole cluster passes verification. If the cluster fails, the command returns 1. Running this command on a cluster not running in FIPS-140 mode always returns 1.

Performance Impacts of running in FIPS-140 Mode

Goboring relies on CGO’s foreign function interface in order to call C language functions exposed by the cryptographic module. Each call into the C library starts with a base overhead of 200ns. One benchmark finds that the time to encrypt a single AES-128 block increased from 13ns to 209ns over the internal golang implementation. Our FIPS module’s preferred mode is (TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384). The aggregate impact on stable control plane seems to be an increase of around ~10% CPU utilization over default operation. Workloads which do not directly interact with the control plane are not affected.