I-Space Research Labs

How to set up OCSP using OpenSSL

by on Feb.26, 2012, under Security, Tech Stuff

Like a lot of Open Source projects, while there are *tons* of documentation on OpenSSL, there is a dearth of useful documentation. It seems like everyone in the know assumes that everyone else is also in the know. I don’t know. But what I do know is how to set up OpenSSL to use OCSP. If you’re a good CA admin, you’re dutifully revoking certificates, regenerating your CRL, and making it available for your servers to download and enjoy. That’s the Old Way. The New Way is to use OCSP… in all reality, I doubt a lot of people are even revoking certs, much less needing to check if one that they issued has been revoked, but hey… it’s cool and you get to have bragging rights to all your geek friends.

Assuming that you already have an OpenSSL Certificate Authority set up, you will need to make a couple of changes to your openssl.cnf file. Add a new line to the usr_cert stanza

[ usr_cert ]
authorityInfoAccess = OCSP;URI:http://<uri to server>

create a new stanza

[ v3_OCSP ]
basicConstraints = CA:FALSE
keyUsage = nonRepudiation, digitalSignature, keyEncipherment
extendedKeyUsage = OCSPSigning

For this example, the OCSP server will be running on ca.isrlabs.net on port 8888, so the authorityInfoAccess line will look like:

authorityInfoAccess = OCSP;URI:http://ca.isrlabs.net:8888

This line will add a new attribute to issued certs that tells clients where the CA’s OCSP server is located so it can check the validity of the cert. The new v3 template assigns a neccesary attribute “OCSPSigning” to any certificate issued under this template. We will need to issue an OCSP signing certificate to the OCSP server with the OCSPSigning attribute, otherwise signature verification will fail when a cert is being checked. This is the first thing we will do:

openssl req -new -nodes -out ca.isrlabs.net.csr -keyout ca.isrlabs.net.key -extensions v3_OCSP

Sign the request with the CA signing key:

openssl ca -in auth.isrlabs.net.csr -out auth.isrlabs.net.crt -extensions v3_OCSP

OpenSSL should show the signing request, look for this in the X509v3 extensions:

X509v3 Extended Key Usage:
OCSP Signing

Sign and commit the request. Now, issue a throwaway cert and sign it

openssl req -new -nodes -out dummy.isrlabs.net.csr -keyout dummy.isrlabs.net.key

openssl ca -in dummy.isrlabs.net.csr -out dummy.isrlabs.net.crt

Next, start up the OCSP server.

openssl ocsp -index /etc/pki/CA/index.txt -port 8888 -rsigner ca.isrlabs.net.crt -rkey ca.isrlabs.net.key -CA /etc/pki/CA/cacert.pem -text -out log.txt

 Once the dummy cert has been been issued and the OCSP server started, we can test the cert using the “openssl ocsp” command. To verify a certificate with OpenSSL, the command syntax is:

openssl ocsp -CAfile <cafile pem> -issuer <issuing ca pem> -cert <certificate to check> -url <url to OCSP server> -resp_text

So to test our dummy file:

openssl ocsp -CAfile cacert.pem -issuer cacert.pem -cert dummy.isrlabs.net.crt -url http://ca.isrlabs.net:8888 -resp_text

There’s going to be a large block of text flooding the screen. Some of the more important text:

OCSP Response Data:
OCSP Response Status: successful (0×0)
Response Type: Basic OCSP Response

Certificate ID:
Hash Algorithm: sha1
Issuer Name Hash: 922CD93C975EDC121DB25B1A55BA9B544E06F9B3
Issuer Key Hash: 322A8DBF79BE1A934543DC4F24FC69220A2803BA
Serial Number: 06
Cert Status: good

Response verify OK

dummy.isrlabs.net.crt: good
This Update: Feb 27 00:55:54 2012 GMT

Now revoke the cert, regenerate the CRL and restart the OCSP server (the server must be restarted every time a cert is issued or revoked). If the OCSP signing certificate was not issued with the OCSPSigning attribute, OpenSSL will gripe that the verification did not work properly. Reissue the signing cert with the OCSPSigning attribute for the server.

openssl ca -revoke /etc/pki/CA/newcerts/06.pem

openssl ca -gencrl -out /etc/pki/CA/crl.pem

Now we can verify the certificate again:

openssl ocsp -CAfile /etc/pki/CA/cacert.pem -issuer /etc/pki/CA/cacert.pem -cert dummy.isrlabs.net.crt -url http://ca.isrlabs.net:8888 -resp_text

OCSP Response Status: successful (0×0)
Response Type: Basic OCSP Response

Certificate ID:
Hash Algorithm: sha1
Issuer Name Hash: 922CD93C975EDC121DB25B1A55BA9B544E06F9B3
Issuer Key Hash: 322A8DBF79BE1A934543DC4F24FC69220A2803BA
Serial Number: 06
Cert Status: revoked
Revocation Time: Feb 27 01:07:36 2012 GMT
This Update: Feb 27 01:12:08 2012 GMT

Response verify OK
dummy.isrlabs.net.crt: revoked
This Update: Feb 27 01:12:08 2012 GMT
Revocation Time: Feb 27 01:07:36 2012 GMT

 If you were to install this cert on a website, and the CA certificate was installed, any modern browser should refuse to connect to the site as the cert has been revoked.

:,

2 Comments for this entry

  • Guillermo Suchicital

    in
    openssl req -new -nodes -out ca.isrlabs.net.csr -keyout ca.isrlabs.net.key -extensions v3_OCSP

    openssl ca -in auth.isrlabs.net.csr -out auth.isrlabs.net.crt -extensions v3_OCSP

    should not ca.isrlabs.net.csr on first command match
    auth.isrlabs.net.csr ?

    I matched both names in the command, but when I do

    openssl ca -in isrlabs.csr -cert ca.crt -keyfile ca.key -out isrlabs.crt -extensions v3_OCSP

    I get:

    Using configuration from /usr/ssl/openssl.cnf
    Check that the request matches the signature
    Signature ok
    The Subject’s Distinguished Name is as follows
    countryName :P RINTABLE:’US’
    organizationName :ASN.1 12:’U.S. Government’
    organizationalUnitName:ASN.1 12:’DoD’
    organizationalUnitName:ASN.1 12:’DoDIIS’
    commonName :ASN.1 12:’isrlabs’
    ERROR: adding extensions in section v3_OCSP
    6216:error:2207707B:X509 V3 routines:V2I_AUTHORITY_KEYID:unable to get issuer keyid:v3_akey.c:166:
    6216:error:22098080:X509 V3 routines:X509V3_EXT_nconf:error in extension:v3_conf.c:93:name=authorityKeyIdentifier, value=keyid:always,issuer:always

  • ian

    It’s an error in the article, the hostname should be ca.isrlabs.net, or whatever the hostname of your issuing CA.

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