Sunday, April 22, 2012

Building a Build Process, Part 4b: Securing Subversion's Connection via TLS

This is part of a larger series in building a proper build process. For more information and additional series links, check out the introductory post.

Alright, I just couldn’t take the guilt. I can’t abide Subversion and Apache being set up without defaulting to https and a TLS encrypted connection. We’ll remedy this below.

Install The Required Packages

On the CentOS server, login as root and type the following in the terminal to install packages:
  • yum install mod_ssl openssl
These packages may already be installed; don’t worry if yum tells you that it has nothing to do.

Use OpenSSL to Generate a Self-Signed Certificate

Navigate to the certificate store by heading to:
  • cd /etc/pki/ca
Next, we’ll need to create a strong private key (2048-bit encryption):
  • openssl genrsa -out ca.key 2048
Then, we generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request):
  • openssl req -new -key ca.key -out ca.csr
You’ll then have to enter the following fields:
  • 2-digit country code (e.g. US)
  • State or Province full name (e.g. Maryland)
  • Locality / City (e.g. Baltimore)
  • Organization Name (e.g. Microsoft or Sean Killeen)
  • Org Unit Name / Section (e.g. Subversion Test)
  • Common Name (your new hostname, eg scm.seankilleen)
  • Email Address (e.g.
  • A challenge password
  • An optional company name
The next step is to use the CSR to generate the actual certificate:
  • openssl x509 –req –days 365 –in ca.csr –signkey ca.key –out ca.crt
Then, copy the certificate files into the TLS certs location that we’ll use later:
  • cp ca.crt /etc/pki/tls/certs
  • cp ca.key /etc/pki/tls/private/ca.key
  • cp /etc/pli/tls/private/ca.csr

Modify Apache’s Configuration to offer SSL

Open the file for editing:
  • gedit +/SSLCertificateFile /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf
Find the line referencing “SSLCertificateFile” and change it to the location of your keyfile. It should look like this when you’re done:
SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/ca.crt
A few lines after that, you’ll edit the SSLCertificateKeyFile:
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/ca.key
Save the file and close it.
Next, restart apache – from the console:
  • /etc/init.d/httpd restart
Redirect Non-SSL connections to the SSL Connection
To do this, we need to edit the apache configuration file.
  • gedit /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
Towards the bottom of the file, the <VirtualHosts> configuration can be found.
Paste the following lines at the bottom of the file:
NameVirtualHost *:80
NameVirtualHost *:443

<VirtualHost *:80>
        <Directory /var/www>
        AllowOverride All
        DocumentRoot /var/www
        ServerName localhost
<VirtualHost *:443>
        SSLEngine on
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/ca.crt
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/ca.key
        <Directory /var/www>
        AllowOverride All
        DocumentRoot /var/www
        ServerName localhost
Now point your browser to https://[your ip or host name] and you’ll see that the site loads under an http connection. NOTE: you may get an error about the certificate, but this is because it does not come from a CA and thus is not “trusted” by your computer. The encryption is still TLS 1.0 256-bit encryption.

Enforce SSL/TLS Only (Redirect http to https)

I put this in a separate section because I wanted the additions to be compartmentalized.
To use mod_rewrite to redirect any http requests to https, change the VirtualHost *:80 to the following:
<VirtualHost *:80>
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
    RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}
    <Directory /var/www>
        AllowOverride All
        DocumentRoot /var/www
        ServerName localhost

Configure the Firewall to Allow Port 443 Connections

On the console:
  • iptables –A INPUT –p tcp –dport 443 –j ACCEPT
  • /sbin/service iptables save
  • iptables –L –v
Now, try heading to http:[your ip or hostname]/svn, and watch it redirect to https.

Feedback Welcome!

I'd love to hear any comments on this series. Find it useful? Think there's a better way to implement the technique or something I should have mentioned? Please drop a line in the comments to help me improve the series!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it classy, folks.