This post is about adding an own (trusted) X.509 certificate for the HTTPS GUI of the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller aka APIC. You can do this via the GUI itself or via the API. Here are both ways:
As we have just set up a TLS capable syslog server, let’s configure a Palo Alto Networks firewall to send syslog messages via an encrypted channel. While it was quite straightforward to configure I ran into a couple of (unresolved) problems as I added and deleted some syslog servers and their certificates. Uhm.
Maybe you’ve heard of Certificate Transparency and its log. Citing Wikipedia: “Certificate Transparency (CT) is an Internet security standard and open source framework for monitoring and auditing digital certificates.” Basically, it gives you information about any public certificate that is issued. Besides its advantages, I thought of one possible problem as it leaks all FQDNs to the public when using TLS certificates, for example from Let’s Encrypt.
A similar problem might arise when using a single X.509 certificate with a couple of DNS names (subject alternative name SAN) from which one should be kept “private”. It will be publicly known as well.
Hence I made a self-experiment in which I generated two certificates with random names, monitoring the authoritative DNS servers as well as the IPv6 addresses of those names in order to check who is resolving/connecting to otherwise unknown hostnames. Here we go:
It is widely believed that public/private keys or certificates are “more secure” than passwords. E.g., an SSH login via key rather than using a password. Or a site-to-site VPN with certificate authentication rather than a pre-shared key (PSK). However, even certificates and private keys are not unlimited secure. They can be compromised, too, since the public-key cryptography only implies that private keys won’t be exposed if a brute-force attack is nearly impossible.
So, what’s the real security level of passwords compared to public keys/certificates?
I came across some strange behaviors on a Palo Alto Networks firewall: Certain TLS connections with TLS inspection enabled did not work. Looking at the traffic log the connections revealed an Action of “allow” but of Type “deny” with Session End Reason of “policy-deny”. What?
I really like the kind of security features that are easy to use. The CAA “DNS Certification Authority Authorization” is one of those, specified in RFC 6844. As a domain administrator you must only generate the appropriate CAA records and you’re done. (Unlike other security features such as HPKP that requires deep and careful planning or DANE which is not used widely.) Since the check of CAA records is mandatory for CAs since 8. September 2017, the usage of those records is quite useful because it adds another layer of security.
It is quite common that organizations use some kind of TLS decryption to have a look at the client traffic in order to protect against malware or evasion. (Some synonyms are SSL/TLS interception, decryption, visibility, man-in-the-middle, …) Next-generation firewalls as well as proxies implement such techniques, e.g., Palo Alto Networks or Blue Coat. To omit the certificate warnings by the clients, all spoofed certificates are signed by an internal root CA that is known to all internal clients. For example, the root CA is published via group policies to all end nodes.
But what happens if the DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE) is widely used within browsers? From the CA perspective, the spoofed certificates are valid, but not from the DANE perspective. To my mind we need something like an on-the-fly TLSA record spoofing technique that works in conjunction with TLS decryption.
DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE) is a great feature that uses the advantages of a DNSSEC signed zone in order to tell the client which TLS certificate he has to expect when connecting to a secure destination over HTTPS or SMTPS. Via a secure channel (DNSSEC) the client can request the public key of the server. This means, that a Man-in-the-Middle attack (MITM) with a spoofed certificate would be exposed directly, i.e., is not possible anymore. Furthermore, the trust to certificate authorities (CAs) is not needed anymore.
In this blog post I will show how to use DANE and its DNS records within an authoritative DNS server to provide enhanced security features for the public.
Roundcube is an email webclient which is easy and intuitive to use. I am using it for my private mails, connecting via IMAP and SMTP to my hoster. One of the great advantages is the “flag” option which is synchronized via IMAP to my Apple devices.
Following is a step-by-step installation guide for Roundcube plus an update scenario. It is a kind of “memo for myself”, but hopefully, others can use it as well.
If you want to use you own ownCloud installation, you can find several documentation on the Internet on how to set up this server, e.g. the official ownCloud documentation, or installation guides such as this or that or here. But none of these page alone provided enough information for installing a secure server completely from the beginning.
So here comes my step-by-step guide which surely won’t be complete, too. ;) However, hopefully it will help other people while searching for their way to install ownCloud. Additionally I am showing how to upgrade an ownCloud server.
During the last few months, the concept of Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) was presented in many newspapers and guidelines. This concept is related to the session key generation for SSL/TLS as well as for IPsec tunnels. And even though many of these articles describe the benefit of PFS, I was still missing a picture that shows the main difference between the classical key exchange via RSA and the exchange via Diffie-Hellman with PFS. So, here comes my poster. ;)