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Zone ingress authentication

To obtain a configuration from the control plane, a zone ingress must authenticate itself. There are several authentication methods availble.

Service Account Token

On Kubernetes, a zone-ingress proxy authenticates by leveraging the ServiceAccountToken that is mounted in every pod.

Zone ingress token

On Universal, a zone ingress proxy must be explicitly configured with a unique token that will be used to prove its identity.

The zone ingress token is a JWT token that contains:

  • Zone in which the zone ingress operates
  • Expiration date of the token (required, 10 years if not specified)

The zone ingress token is signed by a signing key that is autogenerated on first start of the control plane. Tokens are never stored in the control plane, the only thing that is stored are signing keys that are used to verify if a token is valid. The signing key is RSA256 encrypted.

You can check for the signing key:

kumactl get global-secrets

which returns something like:

NAME                               AGE
zone-ingress-token-signing-key-1   7s

Global vs zone control plane

We can generate the zone ingress token on both global and zone control planes. If the deployment pipeline is configured to generate the zone ingress token before running the proxy, it can rely on the zone CP. This way the global CP is not a single point of failure.


Generate the token with the REST API:

curl -XPOST \
  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
  --data '{"zone": "us-east", "validFor": "720h"}' \

or with kumactl:

kumactl generate zone-ingress-token \
  --zone us-east \
  --valid-for 720h > /tmp/kuma-ingress-token

The token should be stored in a file and then passed when you start kuma-dp:

kuma-dp run \
  --proxy-type=ingress \
  --cp-address= \

You can also pass the token by setting the KUMA_DATAPLANE_RUNTIME_TOKEN environment variable.

Token Revocation

Kuma does not keep the list of issued tokens. Whenever a single token is compromised, we can add it to revocation list so that it becomes invalid.

Every token has its own ID which is available in the JWT payload under the jti key. You can extract this ID from the token using or the jwt-cli tool.

Here is an example of a jti:


Specify the list of revoked IDs separated by , and store it as GlobalSecret named zone-ingress-token-revocations:

REVOCATIONS=$(echo '0e120ec9-6b42-495d-9758-07b59fe86fb9' | base64) && echo "apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: zone-ingress-token-revocations
  namespace: kuma-system
type:" | kubectl apply -f -

Signing key rotation

If the signing key is compromised, we must rotate it and all the tokens that were signed by it.

  1. Generate a new signing key. The signing key is stored as a GlobalSecret with a name that looks like zone-ingress-token-signing-key-{serialNumber}.

    Make sure to generate the new signing key with a serial number greater than the serial number of the current signing key.

    Check what the current highest serial number is:

       kubectl get secrets -n kuma-system --field-selector=''
       NAME                               TYPE                           DATA   AGE
       zone-ingress-token-signing-key-1   1      25m

    In this case, the highest serial number is 1. Generate a new signing key with a serial number of 2:

       TOKEN="$(kumactl generate signing-key)" && echo "
       apiVersion: v1
         value: $TOKEN
       kind: Secret
         name: zone-ingress-token-signing-key-2
         namespace: kuma-system
       " | kubectl apply -f -
  2. Create new zone ingress tokens. These tokens are automatically created with the signing key that’s assigned the highest serial number. In this case, that will be the new signing key. At this point, tokens signed by either the new or old signing key are valid.

  3. Remove the old signing key:

       kubectl delete secret zone-ingress-token-signing-key-1 -n kuma-system

    All new connections to the control plane now require tokens signed with the new signing key.


You can turn off authentication by setting KUMA_DP_SERVER_AUTH_TYPE to none.

You should not disable authentication between the control plane and the data plane proxies in production. Disabling authentication means that any data plane proxy can impersonate any service.

Last Updated: 1/16/2023, 13:14:43 PM