Securing your Jenkins environment and configure for auditing

In large organization, an application team would be responsible for installing Jenkins and configuring it and other tasks such as creating jobs or workflows or pipelines is done by other users. In a previous blog post, we have learned how to configure user authentication for Jenkins. In this post, we will discover how to secure your Jenkins environment and configure it for proper auditing purposes.

Configuration for Auditing Environment

Change service account for Jenkins

On a rpm based distro such as CentOS or debian based distro such as ubuntu, you might have noticed that Jenkins installation creates a user named Jenkins. For our purposes, we’ll leave the username same. It is stored in the variable named JENKINS_USER and if you feel like changing it, you can change it from /etc/sysconfig/jenkins file. Most of the Jenkins environment settings are stored in this file only besides config.xml.

Change login shell for Jenkins service account

If we check the contents of /etc/passwd file, the login shell is disabled by default for user named Jenkins.

Shell login is disabled by default for Jenkins user.JPG
Shell login is disabled by default for Jenkins user

So, first we need to change the login shell to bash by using vi editor.

Change password for Jenkins service account

Once its done, changed password of the Jenkins user using passwd. Using su, make sure its working:

Change and verify shell login for Jenkins.JPG
Change and verify shell login for Jenkins

Configure Sudo privileges for Jenkins service account

Now, let’s modify the /etc/sudoers to assign Jenkins user, to act as sudo:

Modifying sudoers to assign sudo privileges.JPG
Modifying sudoers to assign sudo privileges

Why all of above is required? Because, all administrative actions should be a done under single account which helps in auditing purposes. We would need to trace logs for that user only.

Enable Access logs for Jenkins

Edit /etc/sysconfig/jenkins file and set JENKINS_ENABLE_ACCESS_LOG to yes. This will create a access log file in /var/log/jenkins/.

Configuration for Securing Environment

Change default port for Jenkins

Next course of actions would need to change default jenkins port from 8080 to just 80 or something else.  For this, modify the value of variable JENKINS_PORT on file /etc/sysconfig/jenkins and restart jenkins service to see if its working fine. Don’t forget to add firewall exception for new port:

In above commands, we added exception for port 80 for firewall.

Configure SSL for Jenkins

Off course, the most suited option would be to set Jenkins server to use SSL. For our purposes, we’ll configure Jenkins to use a self-signed SSL. Note that you should always be using a trusted 3rd party certificate in production environment. So first we need to generate CSR, create certificate and then configure Jenkins to use it. After this, we’ll need to configure linux distro to allow connections for same.

1. Generate Certificate CSR

For this, run below command:

openssl req -new > new.ssl.csr

Once you do this, you’ll be prompted for a passphrase (Do remember the passphrase) for next steps. Once your password is accepted, it will ask certain questions related for CSR generation.

Below is one of the sample run:

[root@localhost ~]# openssl req -new > new.ssl.csr
Generating a 2048 bit RSA private key
writing new private key to 'privkey.pem'
Enter PEM pass phrase:
Verifying - Enter PEM pass phrase:
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [XX]:IN
State or Province Name (full name) []:Pune
Locality Name (eg, city) [Default City]:Pune
Organization Name (eg, company) [Default Company Ltd]
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []
Common Name (eg, your name or your server's hostname) []
Email Address []:

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:

You should leave challenge password empty.

2. Generate the self-signed certificate

Again, we need to use openssl for same. Run below commands one at a time:

openssl rsa -in privkey.pem -out new.cert.key

openssl x509 -in new.ssl.csr -out new.cert.cert -req -signkey new.cert.key \
-days 365

3. Create a Java keystore

First we need to convert the certificate generated into pkcs12 format. For this, run below command:

openssl pkcs12 -export -out jenkins_keystore.p12 -passout 'pass:password' \
-inkey new.cert.key -in new.cert.cert -name

Then run below command:

keytool -importkeystore -srckeystore jenkins_keystore.p12 \
 -srcstorepass 'password' -srcstoretype PKCS12 \
 -srcalias -deststoretype JKS \
 -destkeystore jenkins_keystore.jks -deststorepass 'password' \

Note that, the value of -name, -srcalias and -destalias must be same. You may want to use a different password than password. Also, the value of -srcstoretype and -deststoretype must be same.

4. Move keystore file to Jenkins content

Run below commands one by one:

cd /var/lib/jenkins

#create keystore directory
mkdir keystore

#copy java keystore file
cp ~/jenkins_keystore.jks /var/lib/jenkins/keystore/

#configure permissions for jenkins user
chown -R jenkins.jenkins keystore/
chmod 700 keystore/

This will assign appropriate permissions for Jenkins service account to access Java keystore file.

5. Configure Jenkins to use SSL

Edit /etc/sysconfig/jenkins and set the following variables:

#disable HTTP

#configure HTTPS

You need to check /var/log/jenkins/jenkins.log for potential troubleshooting.

6. Configure kernel to allow port forwarding

To enable port forwarding during runtime, run below commands:

#allow forwarding
sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
#allow forwarding to localhost on eth0
sysctl -w net.ipv4.conf.eth0.route_localnet=1

Above is based for network interface eth0. Change with relative name in your case.

For forwarding settings to persist on reboot, add or change the following settings in /etc/sysctl.conf:

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv4.conf.eth0.route_localnet = 1

7. Configure iptables to do port forwarding

Depending on how iptables is configured you may have to adapt how you insert the rules into the runtime firewall. It may be simpler to write your rules in /etc/sysconfig/iptables and reload the firewall.

#for remote connections
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 443 -j DNAT \
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp \
-d --dport 8443 -j ACCEPT

#for localhost connections
iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -p tcp --dport 443 -d \
-j DNAT --to-destination

Use iptables-save | less for proper configuration to update /etc/sysconfig/iptables rules.

8. Restart Jenkins service

Use below commands:

systemctl stop jenkins.service
systemctl start jenkins.service

You can check the  /var/log/jenkins/jenkins.log for potential troubleshooting. If all goes well, you should be able to access Jenkins on -name i.e. in our case (do not forget to neglect browser warning, in case if you are using self signed certificate):

Accessing Jenkins on SSL.JPG
Accessing Jenkins on SSL.JPG

Below is the overall summary for our commands:

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