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Create a Cookie Secret and Proxy Auth Token

In addition to an SSL certificate, the Jupyter Hub docs on security basics specify that a cookie secret and poxy auth token be created.

To create the cookie secret file:

$ cd /srv
$ mkdir jupyterhub
$ cd jupyterhub
$ sudo touch jupyterhub_cookie_secret
$ sudo chown :sudo jupyterhub_cookie_secret
$ sudo chmod g+rw jupyterhub_cookie_secret
$ sudo openssl rand -hex 32 > jupyterhub_cookie_secret
$ ls
$ sudo chmod 600 jupyterhub_cookie_secret
$ ls -l
-rw------- 1 root sudo 65 Sep 14 17:41 jupyterhub_cookie_secret

I had trouble with the cookie secret file because I missed where the jupyterhub docs show:

The file must not be readable by group or other or the server won’t start. The recommended permissions for the cookie secret file are 600 (owner-only rw).

After we create the cookie secret file, we need to make note of the file's location. We'll add this location to the file later.

Create Proxy Auth Token

To generate the proxy auth token, we use the same set of commands we used to create the cookie secret, except we'll point to a different file.

$ pwd
# should be in /srv/jupyterhub
$ sudo touch proxy_auth_token
$ sudo chown :sudo proxy_auth_token
$ sudo chmod g+rw proxy_auth_token
$ sudo openssl rand -hex 32 > proxy_auth_token
$ ls
jupyterhub_cookie_secret  proxy_auth_token
$ sudo chmod 600 proxy_auth_token
$ ls -l
-rw------- 1 root sudo 65 Sep 14 17:41 jupyterhub_cookie_secret
-rw------- 1 root sudo 65 Sep 14 17:47 proxy_auth_token

Now when we list the contents of ~/srv/jupyterhub we see:

├── jupyterhub_cookie_secret
└── proxy_auth_token

Create dhparam.pem

Let's also generate a dhparam.pem file. I'm still not exactly sure what the dhparam.pem file is, but I think it's good for security.

First we need to cd into the /srv/jupyterhub directory. Next touch a new file called dhparam.pem. Then use chown and chmod to modify permissions. We need to be able to wirte to the file. The openssl dhparam command generates the .pem file. Finally we modify the permissions again to 600 (owner-only rw). Note the location of this file as we will add it to the Nginx config file.

$ cd /srv/jupyterhub
$ sudo touch dhparam.pem
$ sudo chown :sudo dhparam.pem
$ sudo chmod g+rw dhparam.pem
$ sudo openssl dhparam -out /srv/jupyterhub/dhparam.pem 2048
$ sudo chmod 600 dhparam.pem
$ ls -l
-rw------- 1 root sudo 424 Sep 14 17:59 dhparam.pem
-rw------- 1 root sudo  65 Sep 14 17:41 jupyterhub_cookie_secret
-rw------- 1 root sudo  65 Sep 14 17:47 proxy_auth_token

We now have three files in the /srv/jupyterhub/ directory. The jupyterhub_cookie_secret and proxy_auth_token will be referenced in the file. The dhparam.pem file will be referenced in the nginx.conf file.

├── dhparam.pem
├── jupyterhub_cookie_secret
└── proxy_auth_token

Next Steps

The next step is to install Nginx.