CTX129543
NetScaler
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2015-12-08
2014-12-02
This document contains frequently asked questions about Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliance and specifications related to ...

Question and Answers

This document contains frequently asked questions about Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) compliance and specifications related to FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance.

Q: What is FIPS?

A: FIPS is a set of standards published by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to protect sensitive information on computers and telecommunication systems. FIPS describe information technology standards, such as encryption algorithms, to be used in the non- military government agencies, and by the government contractors and vendors who work with the agencies. FIPS is used by the U.S. and Canadian governments, and is also recognized by the European Union. Additionally, organizations that interact with the government, such as financial institutions, use the FIPS 140 standard.

FIPS 140 specifies the security requirements for a cryptographic module utilized in a security system. It is the standard that applies to the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances, which use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to secure application transactions and Internet communication.??

The purpose of these standards is to protect cryptographic keys from unauthorized access. In public key cryptography, the key pair is generated on the module and the session key is encrypted before leaving the module.

There are four security levels in the FIPS 140 standard, from Level 1, which is the least secure, to Level 4, which is the most secure. Most of the customers require Level 1. However, Level 2-3 are sometimes preferred. The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances have FIPS 140-2 Level 2 compliance, and are hardware-ready for Level 3 compliance in the future.

Q: When is an appliance FIPS 140-2 level 2 compliant?

A: To be security level 2 compliant implies that a product includes a?? cryptographic module. The software and firmware components of the module can work with a general purpose computing system. This computing system meets a set of functional requirements specified in the Common Criteria (CC) Protection Profiles (PPs).
The cryptographic module must meet the requirement for tamper-evidence, which includes the use of tamper-evident coatings or seals, and pick-resistant locks to seal the physical unit containing the module. Cryptographic modules are sealed with tamper-evident seals. You can only access the plaintext cryptographic keys and critical parameters within the module if these seals are broken. Covers or doors are sealed with tamper-evident seals or pick-resistant locks to protect against unauthorized physical access.??

Q: What is FIPS 140-1 compliance?

A: FIPS 140-1 is the second of the three versions of the FIPS standard -- 140, 140-1 (January 1998), and 140-2 FIPS (May 2004). NIST reviews the FIPS 140 standard every five years to determine if further updates are needed. At this time, NIST only accepts applications for FIPS 140-2 certification from security vendors, such as Cavium and nCipher, who want to certify their products. FIPS 140-1 or 140-2 certificate only applies to the version of the product that was submitted for validation. All product updates are subject to re-evaluation against the current version of the FIPS standard. Therefore, the NetScaler appliance must update the FIPS certificate against the current version of the FIPS standard. However, any product evaluated against an earlier version of the standard can still be purchased by the federal government.

Q: What is FIPS 140-2 level 3 compliance?

A: As mentioned in the preceding questions, FIPS 140-2 level 2 provides tamper- evident physical security or pick-resistant locks and supports role-based authentication. It also allows software cryptography in multi-user timeshared systems when used with a trusted operating system.

FIPS 140-2 level 3 provides tamper-resistant physical security and supports identity-based authentication. In addition to these requirements, it requires role- based authentication in which a cryptographic module authenticates the authorization of an operator to assume a specific role and perform a corresponding set of services. An equivalent evaluated trusted operating system might be used. A trusted operating system provides a level of trust so that cryptographic modules running on the general purpose computing platforms are comparable to cryptographic modules implemented using dedicated hardware systems.

Q: What level of FIPS compliance is supported by an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances are FIPS 140-2 Level 2 compliant, and are hardware-ready for Level 3 compliance.

Q: How did the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance achieve compliance?

A: The technology for security used in the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances is FIPS certified. The NetScaler appliance is FIPS compliant and meets the expectations of the intended market because Citrix uses FIPS certified technology in the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances.

Q: What is the technology used to achieve compliance?

A: The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance uses a Cavium CN1620-NFBE3- 2.0-G card, which is a validated FIPS certified hardware module. For more information about FIPS certification and a list of NIST certified FIPS card vendors, refer to Validated FIPS 140-1 and FIPS 140-2 Cryptographic Modules web page.

Q: Is it possible to use OpenSSL to get FIPS compliance for a product?

A: OpenSSL is FIPS compliant at the minimum level. However, the OpenSSL engine when used by a system, which includes a Broadcom or Cavium card is not FIPS compliant. The crypto algorithms used for the actual transaction are done by the card and not OpenSSL. Therefore if a product is involved in accelerating the network traffic, then it is necessary that the accelerator is FIPS certified. These certifications are required for the hardware, in addition to the certificates required for the software.

Ensure that the following specifications are satisfied for certifications related to hardware:

  • The chassis is secured and tamper proof.
  • The crypto card generates and stores all the keys on the card itself. The keys should not cross the bus.
  • The crypto card is tamper proof, even if the power is off.

The software infrastructure for the hardware is different from the normal SSL accelerator. For example, the management interface cannot offer some bulk algorithms, any assumptions with respect to availability of the keys must be changed.

Q: What are the functionalities of an?? FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance when compared to a non-FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance?

A: An FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance uses a Cavium FIPS card. Therefore, the critical security parameters (CSP), such as the private keys of the server are securely stored or generated in the cryptographic module, Hardware Security Module (HSM).
These appliances contain an additional level of security. You can only access CSP from the HSM module. The software on the appliance performs operations using the CSP by giving the appropriate payload to the HSM and the reference to the CSP key handle.

Additionally, FIPS 140-2 Level 2 compliance requires Role-Based Authentication (RBA) to restrict the rights to run the FIPS-related commands. The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance requires superuser privileges to access and modify the keys stored in HSM. These appliances enable users to use credentials other that the nsroot credentials to run FIPS-related commands. However, the NetScaler appliances that are not FIPS compliant, do not enable users without nsroot credentials to run FIPS-related commands.

Q: Is it possible to upgrade the software of a NetScaler appliance that is not FIPS compliant to an FIPS compliant appliance?

A: No. The architecture of an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance is similar to the architecture of NetScaler MPX appliance models 9700 to 15500. The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances use a different Cavium card with a built-in FIPS module. Therefore, it is not possible to retrofit a NetScaler MPX appliance that is not FIPS compliant into an FIPS compliant appliance.

Q: What are the current performance levels of an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances span a range of bulk encryption throughput, from 1Gbps to 4.5 Gbps, which is the highest in the industry. The following table lists the performance levels of various models of the appliance:
??
Model
Throughput (Gbps)CMP
(Gbp s)
HTTP
Req/S ec
SSL
(Gb
ps)
SSL TPS
MPX 9700 FIPS32200K15000
MPX 10500 FIPS65500K210,00
MPX 12500 FIPS105700K3.613,00
0
MPX 15500 FIPS156.51200K4.515,00
0

Q: How does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance handle bulk encryption?

A: An FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances performs bulk encryption in HSM, providing strong cipher support for secure transfer of data. Some competitor appliances use the HSM for key storage, and use the non-FIPS Cavium card for bulk encryption for slightly increased SSL performance.

Q: What encryption protocols does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support?

A: The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance supports SSLv3 and TLSv1.0 in an FIPS140-2 level 2 approved cryptographic module.

Q: What ciphers does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support?

A: An FIPS-enabled MPX appliance supports only FIPS approved ciphers with 3DES and AES with {HMAC} SHA-1 hash algorithm. The list includes SSL3- DES-CBC3-SHA, ?? TLS1-AES-256-CBC-SHA ?? and ?? TLS1-AES-128-CBC-SHA.
Currently, non-FIPS ciphers, such as RC4, are not configurable or supported. Note: The NetScaler MPX appliances, which are not FIPS-enabled, also support one additional cipher SSL3-DES-CBC-SHA.

Q: Does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support 4096- bit keys and certificates?

A: No. The current releases do not support 4096-bit keys and certificates. Support for 1024-bit and 2048-bit keys is available. However, support for 4096- bit keys will be provided in the future release.

Q: Does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support disabling selected SSL cryptographic sets, such as SSL v2, 40 and 56 bit key sizes?

A: Yes. You can disable selected SSL cryptographic sets with cipher bindings.

Q: Does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance erase memory used to process SSL requests?

A: No. The private keys existing in the cryptographic module are protected. If a user imports a key to the module from a storage disk, the disk has to be protected by the user. The memory on the appliance does not contain the private keys.

Q: What FIPS-related commands are supported on an FIPS- enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: No new commands are introduced in the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance. However, there is an additional option, -exponent ( 3 | F4 ) for the following commands:
  • create ssl fipskey
  • import ssl fipskey
  • export ssl fipskey
The default value for this option is 3, which is supported in NetScaler appliances that are not FIPS compliant.
The default security officer (SO) and user passwords required for the HSM initialization have changed. Due to security constraints, the FIPS compliant appliance does not provide a means for retrieving the SO password; store a copy of the password safely.

Note: To know the default SO password of an FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance, contact Citrix Technical Support.

When upgrading the software, you can run the legacy command ./installns –F on the FIPS-enabled MPX appliance. However, you do not need to specify the –F option.

The following is a list of the supported MPX FIPS commands:

  • set fips –initHSM - This command requires a warm restart.
  • reset fips -This command requires restarting the appliance .
  • create fipskey
  • rm fipskey
  • show fipskey
  • init ssl fipsSIMsource
  • init ssl fipsSIMtarget
  • enable ssl fipsSIMtarget
  • enable ssl fipsSIMsource
  • import ssl fipskey
  • export ssl fipskey
  • reboot -warm
Updating Firmware using the command update fips -fipsFW 4.6.1?? s not supported on the appliance.

Q: Are the FIPS keys automatically transferred between FIPS- enabled NetScaler MPX appliances in a High Availability setup?

A: The best practice is to use the Configuration utility when configuring two FIPS- enabled NetScaler MPX appliances in a High Availability setup. If you use the Configuration utility from the GUI of the appliance to configure a High Availability setup, then the FIPS keys, which are created on the MPX FIPS are automatically transferred to the secondary appliance during the next synchronization. External keys, which are imported to the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance, are not automatically transferred to the secondary appliance.

When using the NetScaler command line interface to configure a High Availability setup, you must create the FIPS key on one of the appliances and then transfer it to the other appliance. The process of managing and transferring the FIPS keys is known as Secure Information Management (SIM).

Q: What are the software releases that provide a higher throughput performance when installed on a NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: The following list contains the throughput for the NetScaler MPX appliance models when the latest NetScaler nCore software release 9.2 is installed on the appliance:
  • NetScaler MPX appliance models 10500 and 10500-10G: 6Gbps
  • FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance models 10500: 6Gbps
  • NetScaler MPX appliance models 12500 and 12500-10G: 10Gbps
  • FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance models 12500: 10Gbps

Q: Is it possible to operate 10G SFP+ transceivers at 1Gbps until 10G switch ports are available in the data center?

A: Yes. The 10G SFP+ interface auto-negotiate to1G speed. You can manually set the speed to 1000Mbps through the command line interface or the Configuration utility. You can also accept the default value speed = auto.
Note: Interoperability testing is done with Cisco, Force10, and Extreme 10G switches.

Q: What hardware accessories are available for an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: With FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances has spare and FRU options for power supplies, hard disk drives, compact flash, SFP and SFP++ transceivers.

Q: Is third party security testing available for the cryptographic module included in an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: Yes. The vendor provides this information. You can also request Citrix to provide this information.

Q: Does an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support built- in concurrent FIPS and non-FIPS keys on the appliance?

A: No. An FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance does not support FIPS and non-FIPS keys on the same appliance. All keys created or stored on the MPX FIPS module uses FIPS ciphers. The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance stores keys only in HSM, not on the flash drive as it does on a NetScaler appliances that are not FIPS compliant. Non-FIPS ciphers, such as RC4, cannot be applied to MPX FIPS traffic.
To enable other ciphers on an SSL virtual server, run the following command from the command line interface:
set ssl vserver [-nonfipscipher (ENABLE|DISABLE)]SSL3-RC4- SHA is the only non-FIPS-approved cipher supported on the 9010 and 9950 models of the FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliances.

Q: Is it possible to import an FIPS key from FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance model 9010to an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance model?

A: No. The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance uses a new FIPS card from Cavium. The current shipping 9010 FIPS card was developed in partnership with SafeNet. Safenet uses proprietary code for secure key exchange between two FIPS cards. The latest FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance and the earlier FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance do not inter-operate with each other.
Therefore, you cannot transfer the keys between FIPS-enabled non-MPX NetScaler appliance and the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance.
If you have created the key in the 9010 FIPS SafeNet HSM card, you have to create a new key on the MPX FIPS card and procure a new certificate.

Q: Is it possible to import non-FIPS keys into the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: Yes. With the latest versions of the NetScaler nCore software release 9.2 or 9.3?? installed on an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance, you can import an external non-FIPS key into HSM.

Run the following command to import the key:
import fipsKey <FipsKeyName> -key <String> -inform PEM

In the preceding command, the –inform PEM parameter is required. However, the –exponent parameter is not needed because the appliance identifies the exponent, which is 3 or F.

Additionally, the W rapkey creation is not required on the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliances. In HSM, the card uses a KEK to wrap the key before it is imported. However, you cannot import an external, encrypted FIPS key directly to an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance. You can import an external encrypted FIPS key by using the following workaround:

  1. Run the following command to decrypt the key:
    openssl rsa -in <EncryptedKey.key> > DecryptedKey.out,

  2. Run the following command to import the key:
    import fipskey

Note: Importing of non-FIPSkeys is supported on the 9010 FIPS.

Q: Is it possible to import FIPS keys from an?? FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance to another FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: Yes. You can export an FIPS key from an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance and import it to another FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance. For example, you can import FIPS keys from a primary to a secondary appliance, if the SIM is setup between the two appliances. The exported key is secured with encryption by the card.

Run the following command from the command line interface to import the key:
import ssl fipskey –inform SIM?? ?? ?? ?? –exponent [3|F4]

Q: Is it possible to import the ns.conf file from an FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance model 9010 to an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance?

A: No. You cannot use FIPS-related commands on an FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance by copying the ns.conf file content from an FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance model 9010. Commands, such as set ssl –initHSM, are saved with encrypted passwords and the syntax saved in the ns.conf file is modified after you run the command from the command line interface.
However, you can copy the SSL server, services and Virtual Server configuration commands from an FIPS-enabled NetScaler appliance model 9010 to an FIPS- enabled NetScaler MPX appliance.

Q: Does the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support dual factor authentication?

A: Yes. The latest FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance supports dual factor authentication for administrators.

Q: Does the FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance support backend re-encryption? If so, is certificate validation required? Does the server certificate have to be stored on the FIPS card?

A: Yes. The FIPS-enabled NetScaler MPX appliance supports backend re- encryption. However, a certificate validation is not required. You must store the server certificate on the FIPS card.


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