crypto-policies man page

crypto-policies — system-wide crypto policies overview

Description

The security of cryptographic components of the operating system does not remain constant over time. Algorithms, such as cryptographic hashing and encryption, typically have a lifetime, after which they are considered either too risky to use or plain insecure. That means, we need to phase out such algorithms from the default settings or completely disable them if they could cause an irreparable problem.

While in the past the algorithms were not disabled in a consistent way and different applications applied different policies, the system-wide crypto-policies followed by the crypto core components allow consistently deprecating and disabling algorithms system-wide.

The individual policy levels (DEFAULT, LEGACY, FUTURE, and FIPS) are included in the crypto-policies(7) package. In the future, there will be also a mechanism for easy creation and deployment of policies defined by the system administrator or a third party vendor.

For rationale, see RFC 7457 for a list of attacks taking advantage of legacy crypto algorithms.

Covered Applications

Crypto-policies apply to the configuration of the core cryptographic subsystems, covering TLS, IKE, IPSec, DNSSec, and Kerberos protocols; i.e., the supported secure communications protocols on the base operating system.

Once an application runs in the operating system, it follows the default or selected policy and refuses to fall back to algorithms and protocols not within the policy, unless the user has explicitly requested the application to do so. That is, the policy applies to the default behavior of applications when running with the system-provided configuration but the user can override it on an application-specific basis.

The policies currently provide settings for these applications and libraries:

Applications using the above libraries and tools are covered by the cryptographic policies unless they are explicitly configured not to be so.

Provided Policy Levels

LEGACY

This policy ensures maximum compatibility with legacy systems; it is less secure and it includes support for TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and SSH2 protocols or later. The algorithms DSA, 3DES, and RC4 are allowed, while RSA and Diffie-Hellman parameters are accepted if larger than 1023 bits. The level provides at least 64-bit security.

  • MACs: all HMAC with SHA-1 or better + all modern MACs (Poly1305 etc.)
  • Curves: all prime >= 255 bits (including Bernstein curves)
  • Signature algorithms: with SHA1 hash or better (DSA allowed)
  • TLS Ciphers: all available >= 112-bit key, >= 128-bit block (including RC4 and 3DES)
  • Non-TLS Ciphers: same as TLS ciphers with added Camellia
  • Key exchange: ECDHE, RSA, DHE
  • DH params size: >= 1023
  • RSA keys size: >= 1023
  • DSA params size: >= 1023
  • TLS protocols: TLS >= 1.0, DTLS >= 1.0
DEFAULT

The DEFAULT policy is a reasonable default policy for today’s standards. It allows the TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2, and TLS 1.3 protocols, as well as IKEv2 and SSH2. The Diffie-Hellman parameters are accepted if they are at least 1023 bits long. The level provides at least 80-bit security.

  • MACs: all HMAC with SHA-1 or better + all modern MACs (Poly1305 etc.)
  • Curves: all prime >= 255 bits (including Bernstein curves)
  • Signature algorithms: with SHA-1 hash or better (no DSA)
  • TLS Ciphers: >= 128-bit key, >= 128-bit block (AES, ChaCha20, including AES-CBC)
  • non-TLS Ciphers: as TLS Ciphers with added Camellia
  • key exchange: ECDHE, RSA, DHE (no DHE-DSS)
  • DH params size: >= 1023
  • RSA keys size: >= 2048
  • TLS protocols: TLS >= 1.0, DTLS >= 1.0

The NEXT policy is a policy prepared for the upcoming release of the operating system so it can be easily tested. It allows the TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3 protocols, as well as IKEv2 and SSH2. The RSA and Diffie-Hellman parameters are accepted if larger than 2047 bits. The level provides at least 112-bit security with the exception of SHA-1 signatures needed for DNSSec and other still prevalent legacy use of SHA-1 signatures.

  • MACs: all HMAC with SHA-1 or better + all modern MACs (Poly1305 etc.)
  • Curves: all prime >= 255 bits (including Bernstein curves)
  • Signature algorithms: with SHA-1 hash or better (no DSA)
  • TLS Ciphers: >= 128-bit key, >= 128-bit block (AES, ChaCha20, including AES-CBC)
  • non-TLS Ciphers: as TLS Ciphers with added Camellia
  • key exchange: ECDHE, RSA, DHE (no DHE-DSS)
  • DH params size: >= 2048
  • RSA keys size: >= 2048
  • TLS protocols: TLS >= 1.2, DTLS >= 1.2
FUTURE

A conservative security level that is believed to withstand any near-term future attacks. This level does not allow the use of SHA-1 in signature algorithms. The level also provides some (not complete) preparation for post-quantum encryption support in form of 256-bit symmetric encryption requirement. The RSA and Diffie-Hellman parameters are accepted if larger than 3071 bits. The level provides at least 128-bit security.

  • MACs: all HMAC with SHA-256 or better + all modern MACs (Poly1305 etc.)
  • Curves: all prime >= 255 bits (including Bernstein curves)
  • Signature algorithms: with SHA-256 hash or better (no DSA)
  • TLS Ciphers: >= 256-bit key, >= 128-bit block, only Authenticated Encryption (AE) ciphers
  • non-TLS Ciphers: same as TLS ciphers with added non AE ciphers and Camellia
  • key exchange: ECDHE, DHE (no DHE-DSS, no RSA)
  • DH params size: >= 3072
  • RSA keys size: >= 3072
  • TLS protocols: TLS >= 1.2, DTLS >= 1.2
FIPS

A level that conforms to the FIPS 140-2 requirements. This policy is used internally by the fips-mode-setup(8) tool which can switch the system into the FIPS 140-2 compliance mode. The level provides at least 112-bit security.

  • MACs: all HMAC with SHA1 or better
  • Curves: all prime >= 256 bits
  • Signature algorithms: with SHA-256 hash or better (no DSA)
  • TLS Ciphers: >= 128-bit key, >= 128-bit block (AES, including AES-CBC)
  • non-TLS Ciphers: same as TLS Ciphers
  • key exchange: ECDHE, DHE (no DHE-DSS, no RSA)
  • DH params size: >= 2048
  • RSA params size: >= 2048
  • TLS protocols: TLS >= 1.2, DTLS >= 1.2
EMPTY

All cryptographic algorithms are disabled (used for debugging only, do not use).

Crypto Policy Definiton Format

The crypto policy definiton files have a simple syntax following an INI file key = value syntax with these particular features:

The allowed keys are:

The full policy definition files have suffix .pol, the policy module definition files have suffix .pmod. The policy module files do not have to have values set for all the keys listed above.

The lists as set in the base (full policy) are modified by the lists specified in the module files in following way:

Non-list key values in the policy module files are simply overriden.

Commands

update-crypto-policies(8)

This command manages the policies available to the various cryptographic back ends and allows the system administrator to change the active cryptographic policy level.

fips-mode-setup(8)

This command allows the system administrator to enable, or disable the system FIPS mode and also apply the FIPS cryptographic policy level which limits the allowed algorithms and protocols to these allowed by the FIPS 140-2 requirements.

Notes

Exceptions:
  • Go-language applications do not yet follow the system-wide policy.

In general only the data-in-transit is currently covered by the system-wide policy.

If the system administrator changes the system-wide policy level with the update-crypto-policies(8) command it is advisable to restart the system as the individual back-end libraries read the configuration files usually during their initialization. The changes in the policy level thus take place in most cases only when the applications using the back-end libraries are restarted.

Removed cipher suites and protocols

The following cipher suites and protocols are completely removed from the core cryptographic libraries listed above:

Cipher suites and protocols disabled in all policy levels

The following ciphersuites and protocols are available but disabled in all crypto policy levels. They can be enabled only by explicit configuration of individual applications:

Files

/etc/crypto-policies/back-ends

The individual cryptographical back-end configuration files. Usually linked to the configuration shipped in the crypto-policies package unless a configuration from local.d is added.

/etc/crypto-policies/config

The active crypto-policies level set on the system.

/etc/crypto-policies/local.d

Additional configuration shipped by other packages or created by the system administrator. The contents of the <back-end>-file.config is appended to the configuration from the policy back end as shipped in the crypto-policies package.

See Also

update-crypto-policies(8), fips-mode-setup(8)

Author

Written by Tomáš Mráz.

Referenced By

gsissh_config(5), gsisshd_config(5), ssh_config(5), sshd_config(5), update-crypto-policies(8).

10/29/2019