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Manual Chapter: Setting Up the Thales HSM
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Setting up the Thales HSM

The Thales nShield Connect is an external HSM that is available for use with BIG-IP® systems. Because it is network-based, you can use the Thales nShield Connect solution with all BIG-IP platforms, including VIPRION® Series chassis and BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE).

The Thales nShield Connect architecture includes a component called the Remote File System (RFS) that stores and manages the encrypted key files. The RFS can be installed on the BIG-IP system or on another server on your network.

The BIG-IP system is a client of the RFS, and all BIG-IP systems that are enrolled with the RFS can access the encrypted keys from this central location.

Only RSA-based cipher suites use the network HSM.

After you install the Thales nShield Connect client on the BIG-IP system, the keys stored in the Thales HSM and the corresponding certificates are available for use with Access Policy Manager® and Application Security Manager™.

For additional information about using Thales nShield Connect, refer to the Thales website: (https://www.thales-esecurity.com).

Note: If you are installing Thales nShield Connect on a BIG-IP system that will be licensed for Appliance mode, you must install the Thales nShield Connect software prior to licensing the BIG-IP system for Appliance mode.

Prerequisites for setting up Thales nShield Connect with BIG-IP systems

Before you can use Thales nShield Connect with the BIG-IP® system, you must make sure that these requirements are in place:

  • The Thales nShield Connect device is installed on your network.
  • The IP address of the BIG-IP client that is visible to the Thales HSM is on the allowed list of clients on the Thales nShield Connect device. If you are implementing Thales nShield Connect with a VIPRION® system, you need to add the cluster and management IP addresses and the cluster member IP address for each blade installed in the chassis to the allowed list. This applies to using the management network. If you use a TMM interface with a floating IP address, only that IP address is required.
  • The RFS server is installed. This could be an external server on your network or on the local BIG-IP system.
  • The Thales nShield Connect device, the RFS, and the BIG-IP system can initiate connections with each other through port 9004 (default).
  • You have created the Thales Security World (security architecture).
  • The BIG-IP system is licensed for "External Interface and Network HSM."
Important: You cannot run the BIG-IP system with both internal and external HSMs at the same time.
Note: BIG-IP TMOS with Thales HSM only supports IPv4.

Additionally, before you begin the installation process, make sure that you can locate these items on the installation DVD that ships with the Thales hardware unit:

  • The Thales Security World Software for Linux 64bit
  • The nShield_Connect_and_netHSM_User_Guide.pdf
Note: For supported Thales client and HSM versions with BIG-IP TMOS versions information, see the Interoperability Matrix for BIG-IP TMOS with Thales and HSM supplemental document available on AskF5.

Task summary

The implementation process involves preparation of the Thales nShield Connect device.

Task list

Installing Thales nShield Connect components on the BIG-IP system

Before you can set up the Thales nShield Connect components on a BIG-IP® system, you must obtain the Thales 64-bit Linux ISO CD and copy files from the CD to specific locations on the BIG-IP system using secure copy (SCP). F5 Networks has tested these integration steps with Thales security World Software for Linux 64bit. For questions about Thales components, consult your Thales representative.

You can install files from the Thales 64 bit Linux ISO CD to the BIG-IP system.
  1. Log in to the command-line interface of the system using an account with administrator privileges.
  2. Create a directory under /shared named thales_install/amd64/nfast.
    mkdir -p /shared/thales_install/amd64/nfast
  3. In the new directory, create subdirectories named ctls, hwcrhk, hwsp, and pkcs11.
  4. Copy files from the CD and place them in the specified directories:
    File to copy from the CD Location to place file on BIG-IP
    /linux/libc6_3/amd64/nfast/ctls/agg.tar /shared/thales_install/amd64/nfast/ctls/agg.tar
    /linux/libc6_3/amd64/nfast/hwcrhk/user.tar /shared/thales_install/amd64/nfast/hwcrhk/user.tar
    /linux/libc6_3/amd64/nfast/hwsp/agg.tar /shared/thales_install/amd64/nfast/hwsp/agg.tar
    /linux/libc6_3/amd64/nfast/pkcs11/user.tar /shared/thales_install/amd64/nfast/pkcs11/user.tar

Setting up the RFS on the BIG-IP system (optional)

Before you set up the Remote File System (RFS) on the BIG-IP® system, make sure that the Thales nShield Connect device is installed on your network.
Note: Setting up the RFS on the BIG-IP system is optional. If the RFS is running on another server on your network, you do not need to perform this task.
If the RFS is not running on another server in your network, you need to set up the RFS on the BIG-IP® system.
  1. Log in to the command-line interface of the BIG-IP system using an account with administrator privileges.
  2. Run the script to set up the RFS.
    nethsm-thales-rfs-install.sh --hsm_ip_addr=<Thales_nShield Connect device IP address> --rfs_interface=<local interface name>
    This example sets up the RFS to run on the BIG-IP system, where the IP address of the Thales nShield Connect device has an IP address of 192.27.13.59:

    nethsm-thales-rfs-install.sh --hsm_ip_addr=192.168.13.59 --rfs_interface=eth0

    The RFS interface option is the interface the BIG-IP uses to connect to the HSM.
After you have set up the RFS, you must setup a Security World before attempting to connect to the BIG-IP as a client.

Setting up the Thales nShield Connect client on the BIG-IP system

Before you set up the Thales client, make sure that the Thales nShield Connect client is installed on the BIG-IP® system and that the Security World has been set up. Additionally, make sure that the RFS is installed and set up on either a remote server or on the BIG-IP system on your network.
Note: If the Thales nShield Connect client was installed on a BIG-IP system before the RFS was installed on the network, then you must reinstall the client on the BIG-IP system.
Note: The BIG-IP system IP address might not be the same as the IP address of the outgoing packet, such as when a firewall modifies the IP address.

To use the Thales nShield Connect device with the BIG-IP system, you must first set up the Thales client on the BIG-IP system. For the enrollment to work properly, the IP address of the BIG-IP system must be a client of the networked HSM. In the case of the VIPRION® system and connecting over the admin interfaces, each blade and the chassis IP address need to be added as a client. You set up the IP address using the front panel of the nShield Connect device, or by pushing the client configuration. For details about how to add, edit, and view clients, refer to the Thales documentation.

If you are setting up the Thales client on a VIPRION® system, you run the configuration script only on the primary blade, and then the system propagates the configuration to the additional active blades.

  1. Log in to the command-line interface of the BIG-IP system using an account with administrator privileges.
  2. Verify that the F5 interface you will use to communicate with the nShield Connect has been entered on the front panel of the HSM; that is, the Thales nShield Connect must permit connections from the F5 source IP address.
  3. Set up the Thales nShield Connect client, using one of these options:
    • Option 1: Set up the client when the RFS is remote.
      nethsm-thales-install.sh
      --hsm_ip_addr=<nShield_Connect_device_IP_address>
      --rfs_ip_addr=<remote_RFS_server_IP_address>
      --rfs_username=<remote_RFS_server_username_for_SSH_login>

      The following example sets up the client where the Thales nShield Connect device has an IP address of 192.168.13.59, the remote RFS has an IP address of 192.168.13.58, the user name for an SSH login to the RFS is root, and the Thales client interface is the management interface:

      nethsm-thales-install.sh --hsm_ip_addr=192.168.13.59 --rfs_ip_addr=192.168.12.58 --rfs_username=root

    • Option 2: Set up the client when the RFS is set up on the local BIG-IP system:
      nethsm-thales-install.sh
      --hsm_ip_addr=<nShield_Connect_device_IP_address>
      --rfs_interface=<local_RFS_server_interface>

      The following example sets up the client where the Thales nShield Connect device has an IP address of 172.168.13.59 and the RFS is installed on the BIG-IP system using the eth0 interface:

      nethsm-thales-install.sh --hsm_ip_addr=172.168.13.59 --rfs_interface=eth0

      In addition, the RFS installed on the BIG-IP system may use the TMM interface (namely a VLAN):

      nethsm-thales-install.sh --hsm_ip_addr=10.20.20.1 --rfs_interface=<VLAN_name>

  4. Reload the PATH environment variable.
    If you are installing the Thales nShield Connect on a VIPRION system, you need to reload the PATH environment variable on any blades with already-open sessions: source ~/.bash_profile .
  5. You can use the default number of threads provided, or you can specify the number of threads using the num-threads option. This can also be adjusted later using tmsh.

Setting up the Thales nShield Connect client on a newly added or activated blade (optional)

After you set up the Thales nShield Connect client on the primary blade of a VIPRION® system, the system propagates the configuration to the additional active blades. If you subsequently add a secondary blade, activate a disabled blade, or power-on a powered-off blade, you need to run a script on the new secondary blade.
  1. Log in to the command-line interface of the system using an account with administrator privileges.
  2. Run this script on any new or re-activated secondary blade:
    thales-sync.sh
  3. If you make the new blade a primary blade before running the synchronization script, you need to run the regular client setup procedure on the new primary blade only.
    nethsm-thales-install.sh

Configuring the Thales nShield Connect client for multiple HSMs in an HA group

Before starting this task, you need to set up the Thales nShield Connect client on the BIG-IP® system.
You can perform these additional steps to configure the Thales nShield Connect client for multiple HSMs.
  1. Log in to the command-line interface of the system using an account with administrator privileges.
  2. Enroll each additional HSM in the HA group.
    /opt/nfast/bin/nethsmenroll --force <HSM_ip_address> $(anonkneti <HSM_ip_address>)
    Perform this step for each of the additional HSMs in the HA group. For the enrollment to work properly, the IP address of the BIG-IP system must be a client of each networked HSM. You set up the IP address using the front panel of the nShield Connect device, or by pushing the client configuration. For details about how to add, edit, and view clients, refer to the Thales documentation.
  3. Update the permissions.
                        chmod 755 -R /opt/nfast/bin
                        chown -R nfast:nfast /opt/nfast/kmdata/
                        chmod 700 -R /opt/nfast/kmdata/tmp/nfpriv_root
                        chown -R root:root /opt/nfast/kmdata/tmp/nfpriv_root
  4. Verify installation.
    /opt/nfast/bin/enquiry
    This command displays all the installed modules that have the status Operational. Note that three HSMs are operational in this example.
                            Server:
                            :
                            serial number        CB9E-745E-F901 A1D0-2DBE-AD98 5286-D07F-7601
                            mode                 operational
  5. Restart the pksc11 service.
    tmsh restart sys service pkcs11d
  6. Restart the TMM service.
    tmsh restart sys service tmm
  7. Wait until the TMM is active.
  8. Verify installation.
    /opt/nfast/bin/enquiry
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