Securing Connections

By default, Airflow will save the passwords for the connection in plain text within the metadata database. The crypto package is highly recommended during installation. The crypto package does require that your operating system has libffi-dev installed.

If crypto package was not installed initially, it means that your Fernet key in airflow.cfg is empty.

You can still enable encryption for passwords within connections by following below steps:

  1. Install crypto package pip install 'apache-airflow[crypto]'

  2. Generate fernet_key, using this code snippet below. fernet_key must be a base64-encoded 32-byte key:

    from cryptography.fernet import Fernet
    fernet_key= Fernet.generate_key()
    print(fernet_key.decode()) # your fernet_key, keep it in secured place!
  3. Replace airflow.cfg fernet_key value with the one from Step 2. Alternatively, you can store your fernet_key in OS environment variable - You do not need to change airflow.cfg in this case as Airflow will use environment variable over the value in airflow.cfg:

    # Note the double underscores
    export AIRFLOW__CORE__FERNET_KEY=your_fernet_key
  4. Restart the webserver

  5. For existing connections (the ones that you had defined before installing airflow[crypto] and creating a Fernet key), you need to open each connection in the connection admin UI, re-type the password, and save the change

Rotating encryption keys

Once connection credentials and variables have been encrypted using a fernet key, changing the key will cause decryption of existing credentials to fail. To rotate the fernet key without invalidating existing encrypted values, prepend the new key to the fernet_key setting, run airflow rotate_fernet_key, and then drop the original key from fernet_keys:

  1. Set fernet_key to new_fernet_key,old_fernet_key

  2. Run airflow rotate_fernet_key to re-encrypt existing credentials with the new fernet key

  3. Set fernet_key to new_fernet_key

Was this entry helpful?