#encryption #security #vault #rest #cli

bin+lib helvetia

A library and API server that allows anonymous storage of secrets, with a simple rule; any user can create a secret using a token, and they can only access it using the same token

3 unstable releases

0.2.0 Apr 15, 2021
0.1.1 Jun 22, 2020
0.1.0 Jun 21, 2020

#8 in #rest-api

MPL-2.0 license


🇨🇭 Helvetia

A library and API server that allows for anonymous storage of secrets, with a simple rule; any user can create a secret using a token, and they can only access it using the same token. Helvetia will then go to great lengths to ensure that the secret remains safe, even from itself.

CI Crates.io Docs.rs


Helvetia can be used either as a standalone API server or as a library. In the first case, you can interact with it using its REST API, while in the second case you can interact with it through its vault module.

The way Helvetia works is pretty simple. Users first need to create a secret, which consists of the following parts:

  • Name
  • Data, which contain the secret that a user wants to store
  • [optional] Metadata, which can be any type of data that relate to the secret, but may be less sensitive.
  • Token, which can be used to provide full access to the secret.
  • [optional] Metadata token, which can be used to retrieve only the metadata.

Helvetia will then do the following to ensure that the secret is stored securely:

  • Hash the secret's name and tokens.
  • Encrypt the secret using a single-use key, derived by Helvetia's encryption key and the secret's name.
  • Store the key-value pair to the underlying key-value store.

Helvetia has not undergone a security audit and is not ready for use in production. Prefer using other services such as Hashicorp's Vault, if you have a use-case that requires such guarantees. If you're feeling adventurous though and like some of the following features, you are more than welcome to try Helvetia out:

  1. No accounts; allow everyone to create a secret using just a token.
  2. Optionally provide different access to a secret's metadata via a more limited token.
  3. Encryption at rest with name hashing.
  4. Single binary with no dependencies, so it's easy to deploy.
  5. Allow users to create secrets with memorable names.
  6. Weak perfect forward secrecy; if the encryption keys are compromised after the secret has been stored, the secret can be decrypted only if the attacker guesses the secret's name.
  7. Provide data integrity assurance every time the secret is accessed, because it must be decrypted first.
  8. Written in Rust, thus we are protected against a class of problems.
  9. Easy to cryptographically destroy the stored secrets, even if the storage backend is compromised; simply delete the encryption key.
  10. Supports an easy to expand list of encryption algorithms (through Tindercrypt) and storage backends (through Caves).
  11. Allow limits on the uploaded secret size.


In order to run the Helvetia API server, you need to create an encryption key and provide a directory to store the encrypted secrets. For instance, you can do:

$ mkdir ~/.helvetia
$ cd ~/.helvetia
$ head -c 32 /dev/urandom > key
$ helvetia -k key --store-dir data

By default, Helvetia will store the secrets in a RocksDB database, and encrypt them using AES-256-GCM. To see the rest of the available options, you can do helvetia --help.


You can read the latest docs in https://docs.rs/helvetia. The following sections may be of interest:


As a library

When adding this crate to your Cargo.toml, add it with default-features = false, to ensure that CLI specific dependencies are not added to your dependency tree:

helvetia = { version = "x.y.z", default-features = false }

If you want RocksDB support, you can enable it with:

helvetia = { version = "x.y.z", default-features = false, features = ["with-rocksdb"] }

As a binary

You can run Helvetia using one of the binaries of the stable releases, or the nightly builds. Alternatively, you can install it with one of the following methods:

  • From cargo:

    $ cargo install helvetia
  • From source:

    $ git clone https://github.com/apyrgio/helvetia
    $ cd helvetia
    $ cargo build --release
    $ ./target/release/helvetia --help
    Helvetia: Anonymous and secure storage of secrets...

If you want to enable RocksDB support, you can add the --features with-rocksdb flag in the above commands.


You can read the CONTRIBUTING.md guide for more info on how to contribute to this project.


Licensed under MPL-2.0. Please read the NOTICE.md and LICENSE files for the full copyright and license information.


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