Security and Microservices

Get started with security for your cloud native Java Microservices application


1 - Setup the work environment
2 - Setup Istio
3 - Istio Ingress gateway via HTTPS/TLS
4 - Setup Keycloak
5 - Deploy the microservices to K8s
6 - Strict mTLS
7 - Istio Authorization
8 - Authentication in the Vue.js fronted
9 - Authorization in Quarkus app
Setup locally

3 - Expose the Istio Ingress gateway via HTTPS/TLS

The following procedures have been tested with Minikube. They may partially work with other Kubernetes instances like IBM Cloud Lite Kubernetes Cluster or K3d.

When you install Istio on a Kubernetes Cluster, the Istio Ingress is created with a Kubernetes service of type LoadBalancer. In a production Kubernetes installation, a LoadBalancer would have a public IP address assigned to it so that it can be reached from the Internet:

Local installations like Minikube typically don’t have the ability to do this. Check the Istio Ingress service with the following command:

kubectl get svc -n istio-system


NAME                   TYPE           CLUSTER-IP       EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)                                                                      AGE
istio-ingressgateway   LoadBalancer    <pending>     15021:32561/TCP,80:30169/TCP,443:30629/TCP,31400:30606/TCP,15443:32011/TCP   97m

Notice the type LoadBalancer and the <pending> for the external IP address.

There are NodePorts for HTTP (e.g. 80:30169) and HTTPS (e.g. 443:30629) that can be used to access the Istio Ingress externally together with a Kubernetes workernode IP address (minikube ip).

We will later use a Minikube feature to simulate a LoadBalancer (minikube tunnel).

Step 1: Creating a self-signed certificate

Our Minikube cluster doesn’t hava a public IP address and you probably don’t own an Internet domain and also don’t want to pay money to register a domain just for this workshop.

But we can still create a “self-signed” TLS certificate if we want to explore how to create a secure Istio Ingress.

You need the CLI openssl to do so. It should be installed on your Linux or macOS, already. It is not installed by default on Windows, the OpenSSL Wiki has multiple sources. If you do not want to install openssl, there are ready to use certificates in the deployments/TLS directory.

  1. Root Certificate (.crt) and Private Key (.key) for k8s.local

    This step makes k8s.local a Certificate Authority (CA).

    openssl req -x509 -sha256 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -subj '/O=DHBW/CN=k8s.local' -keyout k8s.local.key -out k8s.local.crt

    CN=Common Name=URL (k8s.local), O=Organization (DHBW)

    -> Root Certificate is file k8s.local.crt (public)

    -> Root Key is file k8s.local.key (private)

  2. Server Certificate and Key for demo.k8s.local

    Create a Server Key und Certificate Signing Request (.csr)

     openssl req -out demo.k8s.local.csr -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -keyout demo.k8s.local.key -subj "/CN=demo.k8s.local/O=demo organization"

    -> Certificate Signing Request: demo.k8s.local.csr (intermediate)

    -> Server Key: demo.k8s.local.key (private)

  3. Combine CSR and Root Certificate to create a Server Certificate, will be signed with the Root Key

     openssl x509 -req -days 365 -CA k8s.local.crt -CAkey k8s.local.key -set_serial 0 -in demo.k8s.local.csr -out demo.k8s.local.crt

    -> Server Certificate: demo.k8s.local.crt (public)

  4. Create Kubernetes TLS Secret from Server Key and Certificate The Pod that represents the Istio Ingress gateway runs in the istio-system namespace. The Ingress gateway needs the Servers (private) key and (public) certificate to handle TLS requests. They are stored on Kubernetes in form of a secret of type TLS.

    The following command creates a TLS secret named demo-credential in the istio-system namespace:

     kubectl create -n istio-system secret tls demo-credential --key=demo.k8s.local.key --cert=demo.k8s.local.crt

    The Istio Ingress Gateway service and pod are running in the istio-system namespace. The pod needs access to the secret hence it must be created in the istio-system namespace.

Step 2: Create an Istio Gateway definition and traffic rules

The file istio-ingress-tls.yaml contains both definitions.


kind: Gateway
  name: default-gateway-ingress
  namespace: default
    istio: ingressgateway
  - port:
      number: 443
      name: https
      protocol: HTTPS
      mode: SIMPLE
      credentialName: demo-credential 
    - "demo.k8s.local"

It defines that it handles requests for (hosts) demo.k8s.local using “simple” TLS (only the server is authenticated by a cerificate) on port 443, HTTPS.

This Gateway definition basically allows to direct requests for a specific host via HTTPS to services in the default namespace.

Those services in the default namespace are defined with Traffic Rules in a VirtualService definition:

kind: VirtualService
  name: virtualservice-ingress
  - "demo.k8s.local"
  - default-gateway-ingress
  - match:
    - uri:
        prefix: /auth
    - destination:
          number: 8080
        host: keycloak
  - match:
    - uri:
        prefix: /articles
    - destination:
          number: 8081
        host: web-api
  - match:
    - uri:
        prefix: /
    - destination:
          number: 80
        host: web-app

The VirtualService definition for this Gateway (default-gateway-ingress) uses rules to map specific paths/URIs for host demo.k8s.local to 3 different services that do not exist at the moment, we will create them later. If you look at the YAML file above, you can see the 3 “match” rules, they are all based on the “hosts” definition:

“https://demo.k8s.local/auth” routes to the keycloak service on port 8080 “https://demo.k8s.local/articles” routes to the web-api service on port 8081 “https://demo.k8s.local”, the root (‘/’) without a path, routes to the web-app service on port 80, this is the service that delivers the frontend app to the browser

Both definitions are created with

kubectl apply -f istio-ingress-tls.yaml

Ignore the warnings, the required services are not installed, yet.

Open another terminal session and enter the following command:

kubectl port-forward service/kiali 20001:20001 -n istio-system

Then open the Kiali dashboard at http://localhost:20001/

Check the Istio configuration for namespace: Default.

istio config

Notice the red exclamation mark for the VirtualService. The VirtualService definition references 3 Kubernetes services that do not exist at the moment. these are the warnings you saw previously when appling istio-ingress-tls.yaml.

Step 3: Locally expose the Istio Ingress

The Istio Gateway and VirtualService definitions can be used with the Istio Ingress NodePort.

But Minikube allows to assign a unique IP address to each Kubernetes service of type LoadBalancer. Istio Ingress service is of type LoadBalancer.

I am not able to test this on Windows, though, so please give this method a try first. If minikube tunnel fails for you, continue with Step 3b: Expose Istio Ingress via NodePort.

  1. In another new terminal session enter the command

     minikube tunnel

    minikube tunnel runs as a process, creating a network route on the host to the service … using the cluster’s IP address as a gateway. The tunnel command exposes the external IP directly to any program running on the host operating system.

    Linux, Mac: The command requires root rights (sudo) because it creates a network configuration. Windows: Run PowerShell as Administrator in elevated mode.

    Output (will repeat every few seconds):

       machine: minikube
       pid: 105248
       route: ->
       minikube: Running
       services: [istio-ingressgateway]
         minikube: no errors
         router: no errors
         loadbalancer emulator: no errors
  2. Determine the Istio Ingress external IP address

     kubectl get svc -n istio-system


     NAME                   TYPE           CLUSTER-IP       EXTERNAL-IP     PORT(S)                                                                      AGE
     istio-ingressgateway   LoadBalancer   15021:32561/TCP,80:30169/TCP,443:30629/TCP,31400:30606/TCP,15443:32011/TCP   4h37m

    The external IP address (used to be <pending>) is now:

    Edit your hosts file (instructions for Windows, Mac, Linux), this requires root rights, and add the IP address and host name, e.g.:

     ## Minikube demo.k8s.local

    In the future our web application can be accessed on your notebook with the URL https://demo.k8s.local

Continue with 4 - Setup Keycloak

Step 3b (Alternative): Expose Istio Ingress via NodePort

These instructions should be used in cases where minikube tunnel fails. The Istio Ingress Gateway can be accessed using its Nodeport, too. This is not as elegant since you need to add the correct Nodeport every time to URLs used.

  1. Get the Minikube IP address

    minikube ip

    Result, e.g.:

  2. Enter this IP address into hosts (Linux, mac: /etc/hosts; Windows: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts) demo.k8s.local

    Example Windows:

    windows hosts

  3. Determine the https-Nodeport:

     NP=$(kubectl -n istio-system get service istio-ingressgateway -o jsonpath='{.spec.ports[?("https")].nodePort}')
     echo $NP

    Result, e.g.:


  4. Ingress URL:

     echo "https:\\\demo.k8s.local:$NP"

    Result, e.g.:


In the future our web application can be accessed on your notebook with this URL.

Continue with 4 - Setup Keycloak