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?
Continue reading Passwords vs. Private Keys
If you are using a Lastline device (Manager, Engine, Sensor or Pinbox) you can reach the machine via SSH after you activated it via
monitoring_user_password . However, per default this uses only a password for authentication. If you want to use the key-based authentication for this “monitoring” user account you can add the public key to the authorized_keys file for that user.
This is a small record on how to add a public key to the Lastline device. However, it is quite general since the Lastline appliance is built upon a standard Ubuntu server.
Continue reading Lastline SSH Key-Based Authentication for “monitoring” User
This is really cool. After DNSSEC is used to sign a complete zone, SSH connections can be authenticated via checking the SSH fingerprint against the SSHFP resource record on the DNS server. With this way, administrators will never get the well-known “The authenticity of host ‘xyz’ can’t be established.” message again. Here we go:
Continue reading SSHFP: Authenticate SSH Fingerprints via DNSSEC
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.
Continue reading How to use DANE/TLSA
Two-factor authentication is quite common these days. That’s good. Many service providers offer a second authentication before entering their systems. Beside hardware tokens or code generator apps, the traditional SMS on a mobile phone can be used for the second factor.
The FortiGate firewalls from Fortinet have the SMS option built-in. No feature license is required for that. Great. The only thing needed is an email-to-SMS provider for sending the text messages. The configuration process on the FortiGate is quite simple, however, both the GUI as well as the CLI are needed for that job. (Oh Fortinet, why aren’t you improving your GUI?)
Here is a step-by-step configuration tutorial for the two-factor authentication via SMS from a FortiGate firewall. My test case was the web-based SSL VPN portal.
Continue reading FortiGate 2-Factor Authentication via SMS
Pre-shared keys (PSK) are the most common authentication method for site-to-site IPsec VPN tunnels. So what’s to say about the security of PSKs? What is its role for the network security? How complex should PSKs be? Should they be stored additionally? What happens if an attacker catches my PSKs?
I am listing my best practice steps for generating PSKs.
Continue reading Considerations about IPsec Pre-Shared Keys
Short memo: This is the FTP proxy authentication format of “Check Point” for the FileZilla FTP Client. I needed it for my Cisco WSA (Web Security Appliance) laboratory in the case of an enabled proxy authentication.
Continue reading FTP Proxy Authentication Format “Check Point”