Create a Certificate Signed by a Certificate Authority for Your Secure Remote Access Appliance
To have full functionality of the BeyondTrust software and to avoid security risks, it is very important that as soon as possible, you obtain a valid SSL certificate signed by a certificate authority (CA). While a CA-signed certificate is the best way to secure your site, you may need a self-signed certificate or an internally-signed certificate.
For more information, please see Create a Self-Signed Certificate for Your Secure Remote Access Appliance.
To obtain a certificate signed by a certificate authority, you must first create a certificate signing request (CSR) from the /appliance interface of your Secure Remote Access Appliance. You will then submit the request data to a certificate authority. Once the signed certificate is obtained, the BeyondTrust software should be updated.
In addition to the CA certificate request feature, BeyondTrust includes functionality for obtaining and automatically renewing its own TLS certificates from the open Certificate Authority Let's Encrypt.
Obtain a Free TLS Certificate from Let's Encrypt
Let's Encrypt issues signed certificates which are valid for 90 days, yet have the capability of automatically renewing themselves indefinitely. In order to request a Let's Encrypt certificate, or to renew one in the future, you must meet the following requirements:
- The DNS for the hostname you are requesting must resolve to the appliance.
- The appliance must be able to reach Let's Encrypt on TCP 443.
- Let's Encrypt must be able to reach the appliance on TCP 80.
For more information, please see letsencrypt.org.
To implement a Let's Encrypt certificate, In the Security :: Let's Encrypt™ Certificates section:
- Enter the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the appliance in the Hostname field.
- Use the dropdown to choose the certificate key type.
- Click Request.
As long as the above requirements are met, this results in a certificate that will automatically renew every 90 days once the validity check with Let's Encrypt has completed.
The appliance starts the certificate renewal process 30 days before the certificate is due to expire and requires the same process as the original request process does. If it has been unsuccessful 25 days prior to expiry, the appliance sends daily admin email alerts (if email notifications are enabled). The status will show the certificate in an error state.
Because DNS can apply only to one appliance at a time, and because an appliance must be assigned the DNS hostname for which it makes a certificate request or renewal request, we recommend that you avoid use of Let's Encrypt certificates for failover appliance pairs.
a Certificate Signing Request
Certificates consist of a friendly name, key, subject name, and one or more subject alternative names. You must enter this information in the BeyondTrust /appliance web interface to create a certificate signing request.
- Log into the /appliance web interface of your Secure Remote Access Appliance and go to Security > Certificates.
- In the
Security :: Other Certificatessection, click Create.
- Create a descriptive title for Certificate Friendly Name. Examples could include your primary DNS name or the current month and year. This name helps you identify your certificate request on your Secure Remote Access Appliance Security > Certificates page.
- Choose a key size from the Key dropdown. Verify with your certificate authority which key strengths they support. Larger key sizes normally require more processing overhead and may not be supported by older systems. However, smaller key sizes are likely to become obsolete or insecure sooner than larger ones.
- The Subject Name consists of the contact information for the organization and department creating the certificate along with the name of the certificate.
- Enter your organization's two-character Country code. If you are unsure of your country code, please visit www.iso.org/iso-3166-country-codes.html.
- Enter your State/Province name if applicable. Enter the full state name, as some certificate authorities will not accept a state abbreviation.
- Enter your City (Locality).
- In Organization, provide the name of your company.
- Organizational Unit is normally the group or department within the organization managing the certificate and/or the BeyondTrust deployment for the organization.
- For Name (Common Name), enter a title for your certificate. In many cases, this should be simply a human-readable label. It is not recommended that you use your DNS name as the common name. However, some certificate authorities may require that you do use your fully qualified DNS name for backward compatibility. Contact your certificate authority for details. This name must be unique to differentiate the certificate from others on the network. Be aware that this network could include the public internet.
In Subject Alternative Names, list the fully qualified domain name for each DNS A-record which resolves to your Secure Remote Access Appliance (e.g., access.example.com). After entering each subject alternative name (SAN), click the Add button.
A SAN lets you protect multiple hostnames with a single SSL certificate. A DNS address could be a fully qualified domain name, such as access.example.com, or it could be a wildcard domain name, such as *.example.com. A wildcard domain name covers multiple subdomains, such as access.example.com, remote.example.com, and so forth. If you are going to use multiple hostnames for your site that are not covered by a wildcard certificate, be sure to define those as additional SANs.
If you entered the fully qualified domain name as your subject's common name, you must re-enter this as the first SAN entry. If you wish to use IP addresses instead of DNS names, contact BeyondTrust Technical Support first.
If you plan to use multiple Secure Remote Access Appliances in an Atlas setup, it is recommended that you use a wildcard certificate that covers both your BeyondTrust site hostname and each traffic node hostname. If you do not use a wildcard certificate, adding traffic nodes that use different certificates will require a rebuild of the BeyondTrust software.
- Click Create Certificate Request and wait for the page to refresh.
- The certificate request should now appear in the Certificate Requests section.
Submit the Certificate Signing Request
Once the certificate signing request has been created, you must submit it to a certificate authority for certification. You can obtain an SSL certificate from a commercial or public certificate authority or from an internal CA server if your organization uses one. BeyondTrust does not require or recommend any specific certificate authority, but these are some of the most well known.
- Comodo (www.comodo.com) - As of 24 February 2015, Comodo is the largest issuer of SSL certificates.
- Digicert (www.digicert.com) - Digicert is a US-based certificate authority that has been in business for over a decade.
- GeoTrust, Inc. (www.geotrust.com) - GeoTrust is the world's second largest digital certificate provider.
- GoDaddy SSL (www.godaddy.com/web-security/ssl-certificate) - GoDaddy is the world's largest domain name registrar, and their SSL certificates are widely used.
- Symantec SSL (www.websecurity.symantec.com/ssl-certificate) - 97 of the world's 100 largest financial institutions and 75 percent of the 500 biggest e-commerce sites in North America use SSL certificates from Symantec.
Once you have selected a certificate authority, you must purchase a certificate from them. BeyondTrust does not require any special type of certificate. BeyondTrust accepts wildcard certificates, subject alternative name (SAN) certificates, unified communications (UC) certificates, extended validation (EV) certificates, and so forth, as well as standard certificates.
During or after the purchase, you will be prompted to upload or copy/paste your request data. The certificate authority should give you instructions for doing so. To retrieve your request data from BeyondTrust, take these steps:
- When prompted to submit the request information, log into the /appliance interface of your Secure Remote Access Appliance. Go to Security > Certificates.
- In the Certificate Requests section, click the subject of your certificate request.
- Select and copy the Request Data, and then submit this information to your certificate authority. Some certificate authorities require you to specify the type of server the certificate is for. If this is a required field, submit that the server is Apache-compatible. If given more than one Apache type as options, select Apache/ModSSL or Apache (Linux).
Import the Certificate
Once the certificate authority has the request data, they will review it and sign it. After the certificate authority has signed the certificate, they will send it back to you, often with the root and/or intermediate certificate files. All these together constitute your certificate chain. The CA or Issuing Authority issues multiple certificates in a certificate chain, proving that your site's certificate was issued by the CA. This proof is validated using a public and private key pair. The public key, available to all of your site visitors, must validate the private key in order to verify the authenticity of the certificate chain. The certificate chain typically consists of three types of certificate:
- Root Certificate – The certificate that identifies the certificate authority.
- Intermediate Root Certificates – Certificates digitally signed and issued by an Intermediate CA, also called a Signing CA or Subordinate CA.
- Identity Certificate – A certificate that links a public key value to a real-world entity such as a person, a computer, or a web server.
All of these certificate files must be imported to your Secure Remote Access Appliance before it will be completely operational. The certificate chain will be sent in one of multiple certificate file formats. The following certificate formats are acceptable:
- DER-encoded X.509 certificate (.cer, .der, .crt)
- PEM-wrapped DER-encoded X.509 certificate (.pem, .crt, .b64)
- DER-encoded PKCS #7 certificates (.p7, .p7b, .p7c)
You must download all of the certificate files in your certificate chain to a secure location. This location should be accessible from the same computer used to access the /appliance interface. Sometimes the CA's certificate download interface prompts for a server type. If prompted to select a server type, select Apache. If given more than one Apache type as options, select Apache/ModSSL.
Many certificate authorities do not send the root certificate of your certificate chain. BeyondTrust requires this root certificate to function properly. If no links were provided to obtain the root certificate, then it is suggested that the CA be contacted for assistance. If this is impractical for any reason, it should be possible to find the correct root certificate in your CA's online root certificate repository. Some of the major repositories are these:
- Comodo > Repository > Root Certificates (www.comodo.com/about/comodo-agreements.php)
- DigiCert Trusted Root Authority Certificates (www.digicert.com/digicert-root-certificates.htm)
- GeoTrust Root Certificates (www.geotrust.com/resources/root-certificates)
- GoDaddy > Repository (certs.godaddy.com/repository)
- Symantec > Licensing and Use of Root Certificates (www.symantec.com/theme/roots)
To identify which root is appropriate for your certificate chain, you should contact your certificate authority. However, it is also possible on most systems to open your certificate file on the local system and check the certificate chain from there. For instance, in Windows 7, the certificate chain is shown under the Certification Path tab of the certificate file, and the root certificate is listed at the top. Opening the root certificate here normally allows you to identify the approprate root on the CA's online repository.
Once you have downloaded all the certificate files for your certificate chain, you must import these files to your Secure Remote Access Appliance.
- Log into the /appliance interface of your Secure Remote Access Appliance. Go to Security > Certificates.
- In the Security :: Other Certificates section, click the Import button.
- Browse to your certificate file and click Upload. Then upload the intermediate certificate files and root certificate file used by the CA.
Your signed certificate should now appear in the Security ::
- The BeyondTrust server certificate has an Issued To field and/or an Alternative Name(s) field matching the Secure Remote Access Appliance's URL (e.g., access.example.com).
- Intermediate certificates have different Issued To and Issued By fields, neither of which is a URL.
- The root certificate has identical values for the Issued To and Issued By fields, neither of which is a URL.
If any of these are missing, contact your certificate authority and/or follow the instructions given above in this guide to locate, download, and import the missing certificates.
Update the Secure Remote Access Appliance
To insure the reliability of your client software, BeyondTrust Technical Support builds your root certificate into your software. Therefore, any time you import a new root certificate to your Secure Remote Access Appliance, you must send to BeyondTrust Technical Support a copy of the new SSL certificate and also a screenshot of your Status > Basics page to identify the appliance being updated.
Do NOT send your private key file (which ends in .p12) to BeyondTrust Technical Support. This key is private because it allows the owner to authenticate your Secure Remote Access Appliance's identity. Ensure that the private key and its passphrase are kept in a secure, well-documented location on your private network. If this key is ever exposed to the public (via email, for instance), the security of your appliance is compromised.
- Go to /appliance > Status > Basics and take a screenshot of the page.
- Add the saved screenshot and the all of the SSL certificates files for your certificate chain to a .zip archive. Do NOT include any private key files (e.g., .p12, .pfx, or .key files).
- Compose an email to BeyondTrust Technical Support requesting a software update. Attach the .zip archive containing the certificate files and screenshot. If you have an open incident with Support, include your incident number in the email. Send the email.
- Once BeyondTrust Technical Support has built your new software package, they will email you instructions for how to install it. Update your software following the emailed instructions.
After these steps are complete, it is advisable to wait 24-48 hours before proceeding further. This allows time for your BeyondTrust client software (especially Jump Clients) to update themselves with the new certificate which BeyondTrust Technical Support included in your recent software update.
SSL Certificate Auto-Selection
Through the utilization of Server Name Indication (SNI), an extension to the TLS networking protocol, any SSL certificate stored on the appliance is a candidate to be served to any client. Because most TLS clients send Server Name Indication (SNI) information at the start of the handshaking process, this enables the appliance to determine which SSL certificate to send back to a client that requests a connection.
You may choose a default certificate to serve to clients who do not send SNI information with their request, or to clients who do send SNI information, but which does not match anything in the appliance database.
- Go to /appliance > Security > Certificates.
- In the Default column, select the radio button for the certificate you wish to make default.
At this point, the appliance should be fully operational and ready for production. To learn more about how to manage and use BeyondTrust, please refer to www.beyondtrust.com/docs.