PowerShell and Secret Management - Using Secret Store Extension Vault

Update: This article has been updated to show the latest version of the secret store module.

In the last part, you have seen an introduction to secret management in PowerShell and towards the end you learned that they are vault extensions that provide the real functionality for storing and managing secrets. In this part of the series, you will learn more about the SecretStore vault extension for the SecretManagement PowerShell module.

The SecretStore extension vault is a wrapper around the .NET Crypto API. This vault stores the secrets to the local machine based on the current user account context. You can install this from the PowerShell gallery.

Install-Module -Name Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore

This extension vault comes with a few commands that are used to configure the vault behavior.

PS C:\> Get-Command -Module Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore

CommandType     Name                                               Version    Source                                          
-----------     ----                                               -------    ------                                          
Cmdlet          Get-SecretStoreConfiguration                       0.9.1      Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore                
Cmdlet          Reset-SecretStore                                  0.9.1      Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore                
Cmdlet          Set-SecretStoreConfiguration                       0.9.1      Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore                
Cmdlet          Set-SecretStorePassword                            0.9.1      Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore                
Cmdlet          Unlock-SecretStore                                 0.9.1      Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore  

Before you can start using this extension vault, by default, you must first set a secret store password.


This command prompts for entering old and new passwords. Simply enter a desired password and hit enter. Once the password is set, you can run the Get-SecretStoreConfiguration command to see the default vault extension configuration.

PS C:\> Get-SecretStoreConfiguration

      Scope Authentication PasswordTimeout Interaction
      ----- -------------- --------------- -----------
CurrentUser       Password             900      Prompt

As you can see, the default scope of the secret store is set CurrentUser and it can be otherwise set to AllUsers. The Authentication property by default requires to supply a password to manage the secrets. This can be disabled by setting the Authentication property to None. Within a session, the supplied password is valid for 900 seconds, by default. This can be changed by setting the PasswordTimeout property. The Interaction property, by default, is set to Prompt and can be set to None to ensure you are not prompted to enter password for any configuration retrieval or changes. When disabling password prompt, you must ensure that you also set Authentication to None to avoid lockdown of secret store. In case you want to set the Interaction to None but still leave the Authentication to Password, you can use the Unlock-SecretStore command to unlock the vault.

Once this initial configuration is complete as per your needs, you can register this extension vault with the secret management module.

Register-SecretVault -ModuleName Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore -Name SecretStore -DefaultVault -Verbose

The above command registers Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore module as the extension vault and sets as the default vault. The Get-SecretVault command retrieves all registered extension vaults.

PS C:\> Get-SecretVault 

Name        ModuleName                       IsDefaultVault
----        ----------                       --------------
SecretStore Microsoft.PowerShell.SecretStore True 

You can start storing secrets using the SecretManagement module commands now.

Set-Secret -Name GITHUB_TOKEN -Secret 'ThIsIsANAPIKeyFoRGitHUBAuthentICation'

You can get a secret value by using the Get-Secret command. You must use -AsPlainText switch to return the stored secret as readable string.

Get-Secret -Name GITHUB_TOKEN -AsPlainText

The Get-SecretInfo returns the metadata information related to the secret.

PS C:\> Get-SecretInfo -Name GITHUB_TOKEN

Name         Type   VaultName  
----         ----   ---------  
GITHUB_TOKEN String SecretStore

You can remove a stored secret using the Remove-Secret command.

Remove-Secret -Name GITHUB_TOKEN

This is a quick overview of using the SecretStore extension vault with SecretManagement module. You will learn more about other extension vaults and secret management module itself in later parts of this series. Stay tuned.

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