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Nova and Cinder key manager for Barbican misuses cached credentials


During the Icehouse release the Cinder and Nova projects added a feature that supports storage volume encryption using keys stored in Barbican. The Barbican key manager, that is part of Nova and Cinder, had a bug that could cause an authorized user to lose access to an encryption key or allow the wrong user to gain access to an encryption key.

Affected Services / Software

Cinder: Icehouse, Juno, Kilo, Liberty Nova: Juno, Kilo, Liberty


The Barbican key manager is a feature that is part of Nova and Cinder to allow those projects to create and retrieve keys in Barbican. The key manager includes a cache function that allows for a copy_key() operation to work while only validating the token once with Keystone.

This cache function had a bug such that the cached token was used for operations where it was no longer valid. The symptoms of this error vary, but include a user not being able to access their key or the wrong user being able to access a key.

An affected user would see an error similar to this in their cinder log:

 2015-12-03 09:09:03.648 TRACE cinder.volume.api Unauthorized: The
 request you have made requires authentication. (Disable debug mode to
 suppress these details.) (HTTP 401) (Request-ID:

Recommended Actions

Users wishing to use the Barbican key manager to provided keys for volume encryption with Nova and Cinder should ensure they are using a patched version.

A specification for a fix has been merged for the Mitaka release of both Nova and Cinder. Additionally these patches have been backported to stable/kilo and stable/liberty.

Contacts / References