Database credentials in environment variables?

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Many developers here on Stackoverflow and on other sites recommend to store the database password in an environment variable. We're using Spring Boot and we'd like to know if it's really a good (safe and common) way to avoid clear text passwords in the application.properties file, even in production? If not, what's the better solution?

Mind that we need different .properties-files for DEV and PROD.


Is it secure to store passwords as environment variables (rather than , Environment variables are more secure than plaintext files, because they are volatile/disposable, not saved; i.e. if you set only a local environment variable, like "set pwd=whatever," and then run the script, with something that exits your command shell at the end of the script, then the variable no longer exists. Many developers here on Stackoverflow and on other sites recommend to store the database password in an environment variable. We're using Spring Boot and we'd like to know if it's really a good (safe and common) way to avoid clear text passwords in the application.properties file, even in production? If not, what's the better solution?


This is all depending on how you deploy your applications. Spring Boot uses a particular order to how properties are set. See: https://docs.spring.io/spring-boot/docs/current/reference/html/boot-features-external-config.html

There are different ways of not exposing you password to much but it will always be visible to someone with enough access and if they know where to look.

Eg. If you run you application i docker you might want to set all passwords as environment variables.

But another example is to set them as properties when you start your app

$ java -jar myproject.jar --property=value

You have to choose what fits your needs the best.

Secure database password stored in an env variable, Assuming you run the web server as its own user, then only root and that user can read your OS Environment Variable†. Unless you're using 30 year old AIX or​  Use Environment variables. The .Renviron file can be used to store the credentials, which can then be retrieved with Sys.getenv(). Here are the steps: Create a new file defining the credentials: userid = "username" pwd = "password" Save it in your home directory with the file name .Renviron.


You can use HashiCorp Vault with Spring Boot: https://projects.spring.io/spring-vault/ or if you use cloud: https://cloud.spring.io/spring-cloud-vault/

Securing Credentials - Databases using R, Integrated security without DSN. Encrypt credentials with the keyring package. Use a configuration file with the config package. Environment variables using the . Setting Up Environment Variables on Windows Systems. Click Start on the task bar. For Search programs and fields, enter Environment Variables. Click Edit the environment variables. This will open the System Properties dialog. Click Environment Variables. This will open the Environment Variables dialog. In the User variables section, click New.


how to use Environment Variables keep your secret keys safe , An environment variable is a KEY=value pair that is stored on the local system where your code/app is being run and is accessible from within  John CarterJohn Carter. 5,74922 gold badges2525 silver badges4848 bronze badges. It depends on the operating system -- At best case, environment variables are as vulnerable as plaintext files, but likely are worse. With plaintext files you can set the read permissions on the files/directories to protect them.


Secret management using environment variables, Using env variables for database credentials. Start off by defining an environment variable. RETOOL_EXPOSED_DB_PASSWORD with the value being your  Environment variables allow developers to extract sensitive credentials from their source code and to use different configuration variables based on their working environment. For most developers their local machine has different database credentials than their production environment.


How to keep a secret, Is your database password stored safely? How do you We see a trend in storing secret credentials in environment variables. I think this is  If defined, this environment variable overrides the value for the profile setting cli_pager . AWS_PROFILE. Specifies the name of the CLI profile with the credentials and options to use. This can be the name of a profile stored in a credentials or config file, or the value default to use the default profile.