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4.5 KiB

Encrypting the http traffic to the CryptoBox webserver with SSL

This file describes how to encrypt your connection to the CryptoBox webserver.
This is highly recommended as the encryption password for your data could be
exposed to intruders in your local network otherwise.

Below you will find detailed descriptions on how to set up an encrypted
connection to the webinterface:
- use the plugin "encrypted_webinterface"
- run the CryptoBox webserver behind an ssl-enabled webserver
- use stunnel or stunnel4 to provide an SSL socket
- use the a proxy server (e.g. pound)
- ...

At the end of this document you will find some information on how to turn off
SSL detection of the CryptoBox. You should read it, if there is no solution
for your specific setup available or if you are _very_ sure, that you do not
need encrypted http connections.

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1) using the plugin 'encrypted_webinterface'
This plugin is disabled by default. You can enable it in your
cryptobox.conf file by removing it from the 'DisabledPlugins' setting.

The plugin does the following during startup of the CryptoBox:
- create a self-signed X.509 certificate if necessary
- run stunnel4 from port 80 to 443 (https) with this certificate

Of course, this will not work, if the port 443 is already in use by
another program - in this case, you should better choose one of the
solutions described below.

Now, you need to point your browser to the URL of the CryptoBox with
'https' instead of 'http'. Or just follow the "Use encrypted
connection" link that appears, if you use plain http.

For a finer tuned certifacte follow the steps under "CryptoBox
behind stunnel".


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2) CryptoBox behind an ssl-enabled webserver
Read the documentation of your favourite webserver to learn how to enable
ssl encryption.

The CryptoBox webserver cannot detect whether the connection is encrypted
or not since it is behind the proxy webserver and does not share its
environment. Thus you have to tell the CryptoBox in the request header
whether the connection is encrypted or not.

for apache2:
1) enable the 'headers' module (for debian: "a2enmod headers")
2) add this line to your ssl-enabled virtualhost:
RequestHeader set X-SSL-Request 1
3) restart your webserver


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3) CryptoBox behind stunnel (configured manually)
You may want to tunnel the traffic between the cryptobox-server
and your browser. "stunnel" or "stunnel4" are excellent candidates for this job.

If you do not have an ssl certificate yet, then you should create
one first. On Debian: "apt-get install ssl-cert" and run the following
command (the supplied example openssl.conf file resides in the doc
directory of the cryptobox-server package):

make-ssl-cert conf-examples/openssl.conf <CERT_FILE_NAME>

In case, that you already have a certificate just run this command:

stunnel -p <CERT_FILE_NAME> -r localhost:80 -d 443

And maybe you want to add the last command to your bootup scripts.


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4) CryptoBox behind a proxy server
As there are many proxy servers around, we cannot describe all of them. As
an example, we will explain the setup of the load-balancing proxy 'pound'
(http://www.apsis.ch/pound/).

Just add the following lines to you /etc/pound/pound.cfg:
# Remove the X-SSL-Request header from incoming
# connections to prevent hackers from spoofing it
HeadRemove "X-SSL-Request"

# Add an extra header to tell the CryptoBox that
# the external connection is secure
HTTPSHeaders 0 "X-SSL-Request: 1"

This example is taken from:
http://jamesthornton.com/writing/openacs-pound.html


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5) Problems with SSL detection?
If the CryptoBox continues to complain about the unencrypted connection, even
if it runs behind an ssl-enabled webserver or behind stunnel, then you can do
one of the following things:
- disable the plugin 'encypted_webinterface' in the cryptobox.conf file
if you do not need it
- set the request header value "X-SSL-Request" to "1" (the digit 'one')
- set the environment setting "HTTPS" to a non-empty value during the
startup of the CryptoBox webserver. Maybe
/etc/default/cryptobox-server would be the right place for this.
- let the CryptoBox webserver listen to port 443