API Keys


API keys, or Application Programming Interface keys, are alphanumeric codes used to authenticate and control access to web-based services or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). These keys serve as unique identifiers for developers or applications seeking permission to interact with Anchore Enterprise. API keys are commonly employed in software development to manage and secure the flow of data between different applications, allowing authorized access while preventing unauthorized usage. They play a crucial role in ensuring the integrity, security, and controlled usage of APIs, acting as a form of digital credentials for developers to connect their applications to external services.

Generating API Keys

A system user can generate an API key for self use. Some users have specific RBAC roles (ie account-user-admin) that allow management of API keys for other system users. For more details on generating and managing API keys, please refer to this section: Generating API keys

Generating API keys as an SAML (SSO) user

API keys for SAML (SSO) users are disabled by default. To enable API keys for SAML users, please update your helm chart values file with the following:

        allow_api_keys_for_saml_users: true

API keys are an additional authentication mechanism for SAML (SSO) users that bypasses the authentication control of the IDP. When access has been revoked at the IDP, it does not automatically disable the user or revoke all API keys for the user.

Using API Keys

API keys are authenticated using basic auth. In order to use API keys you need to use a special username _api_key and the password is the value that was output when you created the API key.


curl -u '_api_key:<API key value>' http://localhost:8228/v2/images

Caveats for API keys

API Keys generally inherit the permissions and roles of the user they were generated for, but there are certain operations you cannot perform using API keys regardless of which user they were generated for:

  • You cannot Add/Edit/Remove Users and Credentials.
  • You cannot Add/Edit/Revoke API Keys.
Last modified June 28, 2024