Teleport 16: Advancing Infrastructure Defense in Depth with Device Trust, MFA, and VNET
Jul 25
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Device Trust

Introducing Device Trust

Introducing Device Trust

Length: 01:35


Device Trust supports all platforms and clients, including tsh, Teleport Connect and the Web UI (requires Teleport Connect to be installed).

The following resources are protected by device trust:

  • Role-based enforcement only: Apps and Desktops
  • Cluster and role-based enforcement: SSH nodes, databases, and Kubernetes clusters


Device Trust allows Teleport admins to enforce the use of trusted devices. Resources protected by the device mode "required" will enforce the use of a trusted device, in addition to establishing the user's identity and enforcing the necessary roles. Furthermore, users using a trusted device leave audit trails that include the device's information.

Device Trust requires two of the following steps to have been configured:

  • Trusted device registered and enrolled with Teleport.
  • Device enforcement mode configured via either a role or a cluster-wide config.

Categorically, we define these two requirements as Trusted Device management and Device Trust enforcement.

Trusted Device management

Device management is divided into two separate phases: inventory management and device enrollment.

Inventory management is performed by a device admin. In this step, devices are registered or removed from Teleport. For example, this happens when the IT department of your company acquires new devices, or retires devices from use.

Inventory management can be manually operated using tctl or automatically synced with a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution such as Jamf Pro.

Device enrollment is performed either by a device admin or by the end-user, at your discretion. This is the step that creates the Secure Enclave private key in the device and registers its public key counterpart with the Teleport Auth Server. Enrollment has to run on the actual device that you want to enroll. For example, this happens when a user gets a new device for the first time, or when IT prepares a new device for a user. Enrollment only needs to happen once per user/device combination.

Enrollment exchanges an enrollment token, created by a device admin, for the opportunity to enroll the corresponding device.

How trust is established with the device

Device Trust leverages dedicated secure hardware in devices to store device credentials and perform device challenges. The specific implementation varies between types of devices.

On macOS devices, Device Trust uses the Secure Enclave in order to store a device private key. That key is used to solve device challenges issued by the Teleport Auth Service, proving the identity of the trusted device.

On Windows and Linux devices, a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is used to perform an attestation as to the state of the device. This attestation is signed by a private key that is also protected by the TPM.

The signed attestation ensures that the Teleport Auth Service knows both the state of the device and that the request has come from the device.

That said, a device is as trustworthy as the enrollment process. If enrollment operator enrolls a malicious device to Teleport, establishing trust with Secure Enclave or TPM is already defeated at this point. The more trusted the enrollment environment and operator, the better the ongoing guarantees that the device itself is trustworthy.

Device Trust enforcement

Enforcing Device Trust means configuring Teleport with device trust mode, i.e. applying device_trust_mode: required rule, which tells Teleport Auth Service to only allow access with a trusted and an authenticated device, in addition to establishing the user's identity and enforcing the necessary roles.

Teleport supports two methods for device enforcement: Role-based enforcement and Cluster-wide enforcement.

  • Role-based enforcement can be used to enforce Device Trust at role level, using RBAC.
  • Cluster-wide enforcement can be used to enforce Device Trust at cluster level.