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Manual Chapter: Managing Client-Side HTTP Traffic Using a Self-Signed RSA Certificate
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Managing Client-Side HTTP Traffic Using a Self-Signed RSA Certificate

Overview: Managing client-side HTTP traffic using a self-signed RSA certificate

This implementation uses an RSA self-signed certificate to authenticate HTTP traffic. When you want to manage HTTP traffic over SSL, you can configure the BIG-IP® system to perform the SSL handshake that target web servers typically perform.

A common way to configure the BIG-IP system is to enable client-side SSL, which makes it possible for the system to decrypt client requests before forwarding them to a server, and to encrypt server responses before returning them to the client. In this case, you need to install only one SSL key/certificate pair on the BIG-IP system.

Task summary

To implement client-side authentication using HTTP and SSL with a self-signed certificate, you perform a few basic configuration tasks.

Task list

Creating a self-signed RSA certificate

If you are configuring the BIG-IP® system to manage client-side HTTP traffic, you create an RSA self-signed digital certificate to authenticate and secure the client-side HTTP traffic. If you are also configuring the system to manage server-side HTTP traffic, you create a second RSA self-signed certificate to authenticate and secure the server-side HTTP traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click System > File Management > SSL Certificate List .
    The SSL Certificate List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the SSL certificate.
  4. From the Issuer list, select Self.
  5. In the Common Name field, type a name.
    This is typically the name of a web site, such as www.siterequest.com.
  6. In the Division field, type your department name.
  7. In the Organization field, type your company name.
  8. In the Locality field, type your city name.
  9. In the or State or Province field, type your state or province name.
  10. From the Country list, select the name of your country.
  11. In the E-mail Address field, type your email address.
  12. In the Lifetime field, type a number of days, or retain the default, 365.
  13. In the Subject Alternative Name field, type a name.
    This name is embedded in the certificate for X509 extension purposes.
    By assigning this name, you can protect multiple host names with a single SSL certificate.
  14. From the Key Type list, select RSA.
  15. From the Size list, select a key size, in bits.
  16. Click Finished.

Creating a custom HTTP profile

An HTTP profile defines the way that you want the BIG-IP®system to manage HTTP traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Services > HTTP .
    The HTTP profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New HTTP Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select http.
  5. Select the Custom check box.
  6. Modify the settings, as required.
  7. Click Finished.
The custom HTTP profile now appears in the HTTP profile list screen.

Creating a custom Client SSL profile

You create a custom Client SSL profile when you want the BIG-IP® system to terminate client-side SSL traffic for the purpose of decrypting client-side ingress traffic and decrypting client-side egress traffic. By terminating client-side SSL traffic, the BIG-IP system offloads these decryption/encryption functions from the destination server. When you perform this task, you specify an RSA type of key chain.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > SSL > Client .
    The Client profile list screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Client SSL Profile screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. From the Parent Profile list, select clientssl.
  5. Select the Custom check box.
    The settings become available for change.
  6. Using the Certificate Key Chain setting, specify one or more certificate key chains:
    1. From the Certificate list, select a certificate name.
      This is the name of an RSA certificate that you installed on the BIG-IP® system. If you have not generated a certificate request nor installed a certificate on the BIG-IP system, you can specify the name of an existing certificate, default.
    2. From the Key list, select a key name.
      This is the name of an RSA key that you installed on the BIG-IP® system. If you have not installed a key on the BIG-IP system, you can specify the name of an existing key, default.
    3. From the Chain list, select the chain that you want to include in the certificate key chain.
      A certificate chain can contain either a series of public key certificates in Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM) format or a series of one or more PEM files. A certificate chain can contain certificates for Intermediate certificate Authorities (CAs).
      Note: The default self-signed certificate and the default CA bundle certificate are not appropriate for use as a certificate chain.
    4. For the Passphrase field, type a string that enables access to the SSL certificate/key pair.
      This setting is optional. For added security, the BIG-IP system automatically encrypts the pass phrase itself. This pass phrase encryption process is invisible to BIG-IP® system administrative users.
    5. Click Add.
      The result is that the specified key chain appears in the text box.
  7. If you want to use a cipher suite other than DEFAULT:
    1. From the Configuration list, select Advanced.
    2. For the Ciphers setting, type the name of a cipher.
      You can specify a particular string to indicate the ciphers that you want the BIG-IP system to use for SSL negotiation, or you can specify ciphers that you do not want the system to use.
      Examples of cipher values that you can specify are ECDHE and DEFAULT:!ECDHE.
  8. Configure all other profile settings as needed.
  9. Click Finished.
After performing this task, you must assign the profile to a virtual server.

Creating a pool to process HTTP traffic

You can create a pool of web servers to process HTTP requests.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Pools .
    The Pool List screen opens.
  2. Click Create.
    The New Pool screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the pool.
  4. For the Health Monitors setting, from the Available list, select the http monitor and move the monitor to the Active list.
  5. From the Load Balancing Method list, select how the system distributes traffic to members of this pool.
    The default is Round Robin.
  6. For the Priority Group Activation setting, specify how to handle priority groups:
    • Select Disabled to disable priority groups. This is the default option.
    • Select Less than, and in the Available Members field type the minimum number of members that must remain available in each priority group in order for traffic to remain confined to that group.
  7. Using the New Members setting, add each resource that you want to include in the pool:
    1. Type an IP address in the Address field.
    2. Type 80 in the Service Port field, or select HTTP from the list.
    3. (Optional) Type a priority number in the Priority field.
    4. Click Add.
  8. Click Finished.
The new pool appears in the Pools list.

Creating a virtual server for client-side HTTP traffic

You can specify a virtual server to be either a host virtual server or a network virtual server to manage HTTP traffic over SSL.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Virtual Servers .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button.
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the Destination Address field, type the IP address in CIDR format.
    The supported format is address/prefix, where the prefix length is in bits. For example, an IPv4 address/prefix is 10.0.0.1 or 10.0.0.0/24, and an IPv6 address/prefix is ffe1::0020/64 or 2001:ed8:77b5:2:10:10:100:42/64. When you use an IPv4 address without specifying a prefix, the BIG-IP® system automatically uses a /32 prefix.
    Note: The IP address you type must be available and not in the loopback network.
  5. In the Service Port field, type 443, or select HTTPS from the list.
  6. From the HTTP Profile list, select the HTTP profile that you previously created.
  7. For the SSL Profile (Client) setting, from the Available list, select the name of the Client SSL profile you previously created, and using the Move button, move the name to the Selected list.
  8. In the Resources area, from the Default Pool list, select the name of the pool that you created previously.
  9. Click Finished.
After performing this task, the virtual server appears in the Virtual Server List screen.

Implementation result

After you complete the tasks in this implementation, the BIG-IP® system can authenticate and decrypt HTTP traffic coming from a client system, using an RSA self-signed certificate. The BIG-IP system can also re-encrypt server responses before sending them back to the client.

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