This feature requires Consul Enterprise.
Builds of Consul Enterprise marked with a
fips1402 feature name include built-in support for FIPS 140-2 compliance.
To use this feature, you must have an active or trial license for Consul Enterprise. To start a trial, contact HashiCorp sales.
FIPS 140-2 builds of Consul Enterprise behave in the same way as non-FIPS builds. There are no restrictions on Consul algorithms and ensuring that Consul remains in a FIPS-compliant mode of operation is your responsibility. To maintain FIPS-compliant operation, you must ensure that TLS is enabled so that communication is encrypted. Consul products surface some helpful warnings where settings are insecure.
Encryption is disabled in Consul Enterprise by default. As a result, Consul may transmit sensitive control plane information. You must ensure that gossip encryption and mTLS is enabled for all agents when running Consul with FIPS-compliant settings. In addition, be aware that TLSv1.3 does not work with FIPS 140-2, as HKDF is not a certified primitive.
HashiCorp is not a NIST-certified testing laboratory and can only provide general guidance about using Consul Enterprise in a FIPS-compliant manner. We recommend consulting an approved auditor for further information.
The FIPS 140-2 variant of Consul uses separate binaries that are available from the following sources:
- From the HashiCorp Releases page, releases ending with the
- From the Docker Hub
- From the AWS ECR
- From the Red Hat Access
The above naming conventions, which append
.fips1402 to binary names and tags, and
-fips to registry names, also apply to
consul-ecs, which are packaged separately from Consul Enterprise.
A Consul cluster running FIPS variants of Consul can peer with any combination of standard (non-FIPS) Consul clusters and FIPS Consul clusters. Consul supports all cluster peering features between FIPS clusters and non-FIPS clusters.
When using Consul Enterprise with FIPS 140-2, be aware of the following operation restrictions:
We do not support in-place migrations from non-FIPS builds of Consul to FIPS builds of Consul, regardless of version. A fresh cluster installation is required to support FIPS 140-2. You cannot upgrade directly to a FIPS-compliant build.
Consul Enterprise's FIPS modifications include restrictions to supported TLS cipher suites and key information. Only the following cipher suites are allowed:
In addition, only the following key types are allowed in TLS chains of trust:
- RSA 2048, 3072, and 4096-bit
- ECDSA P-256, P-384, and P-521
Finally, only TLSv1.2 is supported in FIPS mode. These settings are in line with recent NIST guidance and FIPS requirements.
We do not support mixed deployment scenarios within the same Consul cluster. An example of an unsupported deployment scenario is one that mixes FIPS and non-FIPS Consul binaries. Nodes across the entire cluster must use a single binary or deployment type.
Running a heterogeneous cluster is not permitted by FIPS, as components of the system are not compliant with FIPS. Attempts to join non-FIPS and FIPS nodes or servers may fail.
To enable users to deploy a FIPS compliant service mesh with Consul, HashiCorp provides FIPS compliant versions of Envoy available for download. Contact Hashicorp sales for more information.
Depending on your Consul runtime, there are additional requirements for using FIPS 140-2.
If using Consul on VMs, you must use a FIPS compliant version of Envoy. Contact HashiCorp sales to learn how to obtain a FIPS compliant version of Envoy.
When deploying the FIPS builds of Consul on Kubernetes using
consul-k8s or Helm, you must ensure that the Helm chart is updated to use FIPS builds of Consul Enterprise, Consul Dataplane, and Envoy images.
Consul's FIPS 140-2 Linux products use the BoringCrypto integration in the official Go 1.20+ toolchain, which include a FIPS-validated crypto module.
Consul's FIPS 140-2 products on Windows use the CNGCrypto integration in Microsoft's Go toolchain, which include a FIPS-validated crypto module.
To ensure your build of Consul Enterprise includes FIPS support, confirm that a line with
FIPS: Enabled appears when you run a
version command. For example, the following message appears for Linux users:
FIPS: FIPS 140-2 Enabled, crypto module boringcrypto
The following message appears for Windows users:
FIPS: FIPS 140-2 Enabled, crypto module cngcrypto
FIPS 140-2 Linux binaries depend on cgo, which require that a GNU C Library (glibc) Linux distribution be used to run Consul. Refer to instructions for Windows FIPS mode for more information on running CNGCrypto-enabled Go binaries in FIPS mode.
The NIST Cryptographic Module Validation Program certifications and accompanying security policies for BoringCrypto and CNG are available through the following external links:
To validate that a FIPS 140-2 Linux binary correctly includes BoringCrypto, run
go tool nm on the binary to get a symbol dump. On FIPS-enabled builds, many results appear, as in the following example:
$ go tool nm consul | grep -i goboringcrypto
4014d0 T _cgo_6880f0fbb71e_Cfunc__goboringcrypto_AES_cbc_encrypt
4014f0 T _cgo_6880f0fbb71e_Cfunc__goboringcrypto_AES_ctr128_encrypt
401520 T _cgo_6880f0fbb71e_Cfunc__goboringcrypto_AES_decrypt
401540 T _cgo_6880f0fbb71e_Cfunc__goboringcrypto_AES_encrypt
401560 T _cgo_6880f0fbb71e_Cfunc__goboringcrypto_AES_set_decrypt_key
Similarly, on a FIPS Windows binary, run
go tool nm on the binary to get a symbol dump, and then search for
On both Linux and Windows non-FIPS builds, the search output yields no results.
A Lab, authorized by the U.S. Government to certify FIPS 140-2 compliance, is in the process of verifying that Consul Enterprise and its related packages are compliant with the requirements of FIPS 140-2 Level 1.