Category Archives: Certificate

Palo Alto policy-deny though Action allow

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?

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CAA: DNS Certification Authority Authorization

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.

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Idea: On-the-Fly TLSA Record Spoofing

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.

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How to use DANE/TLSA

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.

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