How to Manage Only FileVault Recovery Key Escrow with Jamf Pro

Posted on by Matthew Warren

The Jamf Pro GUI allows you to automatically set up the necessary payloads to manage the FileVault 2 Recovery Key Escrow process for macOS 10.13+.

However, the settings reside in the "Security & Privacy" grouping within the Jamf Pro GUI. Configuring only Recovery Key Escrow settings within the "Security & Privacy" tab will effectively enforce the default settings for all other preferences within the grouping. Using the built-in options, you may inadvertently enforce settings you don't intend. This may lock your users out of being able to make changes to the firewall, analytics settings, screen saver password requirement, and other settings.

You can upload a custom profile to the Jamf Pro Server that manages only FDE Recover Key Escrow preferences, but it takes a little work.

You'll also need to sign your resultant configuration profile to prevent the Jamf Pro Server from manipulating its contents or preventing deployment. You can use an Apple Developer certificate, or your Jamf Pro Server's CA (if self signed).

FileVault2 Recovery Key Escrow in macOS High Sierra (and later)

FileVault 2 Recovery Key Escrow requires installing a Configuration Profile on your endpoints with a payload. Automaticlly escrowing a Personal Recovery Key to Jamf Pro requires working MDM to function.

Recovery Key Escrow works by encrypting the Personal Recovery Key with a known signing certificate. macOS writes the encryped recovery key to /var/db/FileVaultPRK.dat, which is made available to your MDM server when it sends a SecurityInfo command. Jamf Pro takes care of these implementation details for you, including scheduling regular SecurityInfo MDM commands.

The Recovery Key Escrow policy must be present on the system before it is encrypted in order for the key to be written to /var/db/FileVaultPRK.dat. If the machine is encrypted prior to installation of the Escrow profile, you will need to change the recovery key to have /var/db/FileVaultPRK.dat updated, and the key subsequently available for Jamf Pro. Elliot Jordan's jss-filevault-reissue can assist with rotating Personal Recovery Keys. I contributed the initial code to support Recovery Key Escrow in High Sierra and can confirm this process works.

Full details are available in Apple's Configuration Profile Reference document.

FileVault2Comm Signing Certificate

When you install Jamf Pro, the built-in certificate authority issues a signing certificate with subject CN=JSS Built-In Signing Certificate,OU=FILEVAULT2COMM, which is used for FileVault 2 Recovery Key Escrow. We need that certificate for inclusion in the custom profile we're building.

Since the Jamf Pro Server's built-in certificate authority issues the FileVault2Comm signing certificate, it holds the private key necessary to decypt data that's been encrypted using it.

The Jamf Pro GUI does not provide a facility to download it directly, so we'll need to employ a workaround by building a temporary profile.

Create a Temporary Configuration Profile in the Jamf Pro Server

To generate an appropriate encryption certificate, we'll create a temporary configuration profile within the JPS. Name it something disposable – you'll delete it when done. "TEMP - FDERKE Setup" works. Set the level to "Computer level." Make sure you do not add a scope to the profile; we're not deploying it.

Click the "Security & Privacy" group on the left, then click "Configure." Select the "FileVault" tab. Apply these preferences:

An optional string that will be included in help text if the user appears to have forgotten the password. Can be used by a site admin to look up the escrowed key for the particular machine.

Save the profile, then click the "Download" button.

Grabbing the Signing Certificate

Next we'll convert the profile to a readable format so we can access the encryption certificate provided by Jamf. In Terminal, run these commands:

security cms -D -i /path/to/downloaded/profile.mobileconfig -o /path/to/de-signed.mobileconfig
plutil -convert xml1 /path/to/de-signed.mobileconfig

Copy template-fde-recovery-key-escrow.mobileconfig to a new file in your favorite text editor. Change the values of PayloadOrganization and Location as needed to match your organization. There are several instances of each key in the profile so be sure to change them all.

Open the de-signed profile originally downloaded from the Jamf Pro Server in your text editor. Find the PayloadContent below PayloadCertificateFileName – it's the big, obvious block of certificate data.

Copy and paste this to the same location in your edited template-fde-recovery-key-escrow.mobileconfig file, making sure you get the indentation correct. Save this file with a suitable name like FileVault Recovery Key Escrow.mobileconfig.

  1. Sign the new profile thusly:
    /usr/bin/security cms -S -N "Common Name of signing certificate in your keychain" -i /path/to/FileVault\ Recovery\ Key Escrow.mobileconfig -o /path/to/Signed-FileVault\ Recovery\ Key\ Escrow.mobileconfig
  2. Delete the temporary configuration profile from your Jamf Pro Server.
  3. Upload your completed Signed-FileVault Recovery Key Escrow.mobileconfig profile to your Jamf Pro Server, then set an appropriate scope and deploy it.


This article was originally published as a Gist.

Thanks to @opragel for the template/example configuration profile.

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Afterward: →
Creating a Naming Scheme for Jamf Pro