Bug 1664807 - httpd fails to use ECDSA keys and certificates on PKCS#11 device
Summary: httpd fails to use ECDSA keys and certificates on PKCS#11 device
Alias: None
Product: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8
Classification: Red Hat
Component: openssl-pkcs11
Version: 8.0
Hardware: All
OS: Linux
Target Milestone: rc
: 8.2
Assignee: Anderson Sasaki
QA Contact: Alexander Sosedkin
Florian Delehaye
Depends On: 1682502
Blocks: 1701002
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2019-01-09 17:22 UTC by Stanislav Zidek
Modified: 2020-04-28 16:58 UTC (History)
12 users (show)

Fixed In Version: openssl-pkcs11-0.4.10-1.el8
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
.`httpd` now starts correctly if using an ECDSA private key without matching public key stored in a PKCS #11 device Unlike RSA keys, ECDSA private keys do not necessarily contain public-key information. In this case, you cannot obtain the public key from an ECDSA private key. For this reason, a PKCS #11 device stores public-key information in a separate object whether it is a public-key object or a certificate object. OpenSSL expected the `EVP_PKEY` structure provided by an engine for a private key to contain the public-key information. When filling the `EVP_PKEY` structure to be provided to OpenSSL, the engine in the `openssl-pkcs11` package tried to fetch the public-key information only from matching public-key objects and ignored the present certificate objects. When OpenSSL requested an ECDSA private key from the engine, the provided `EVP_PKEY` structure did not contain the public-key information if the public key was not present in the PKCS #11 device, even when a matching certificate that contained the public key was available. As a consequence, since the Apache `httpd` web server called the `X509_check_private_key()` function, which requires the public key, in its start-up process, `httpd` failed to start in this scenario. This problem has been solved by loading the EC public key from the certificate if the public-key object is not available. As a result, `httpd` now starts correctly when ECDSA keys are stored in a PKCS #11 device.
Clone Of: 1664802
Last Closed: 2020-04-28 16:58:10 UTC
Type: Bug
Target Upstream Version:

Attachments (Terms of Use)
Minimal reproducer for the issue (2.16 KB, text/x-csrc)
2019-02-06 17:45 UTC, Anderson Sasaki
no flags Details

System ID Private Priority Status Summary Last Updated
Red Hat Product Errata RHBA-2020:1871 0 None None None 2020-04-28 16:58:16 UTC

Description Stanislav Zidek 2019-01-09 17:22:53 UTC
Description of problem:
httpd does not work with ECDSA keys stored on PKCS#11 token. I am not sure however if the problems is in httpd or perhaps "lower" (in openssl-pkcs11?).

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
1. cd into directory with /CoreOS/p11-kit/Integration/httpd-pkcs11-uri
2. change KEYTYPES array to test rsa-pss - "KEYTYPES=(ecdsa)"
3. 1minutetip --buildroot rhel8

Actual results:

Found slot:  SoftHSM slot ID 0x207efe18
Found token: softhsm
Found 1 private key:
   1 P  id=a67ded529c7faeea455b90589c1003e4b95df7e9 label=httpd
AH00016: Configuration Failed

[...] [ssl:debug] [...] ssl_engine_pphrase.c(872): Init: Initialized engine pkcs11 for private key pkcs11:model=SoftHSM%20v2;manufacturer=SoftHSM%20project;serial=45e2053c207efe18;token=softhsm;id=%a6%7d%ed%52%9c%7f%ae%ea%45%5b%90%58%9c%10%03%e4%b9%5d%f7%e9;object=httpd;type=private?pin-value=123456
[...] [ssl:emerg] [...] AH10130: Failed to configure private key pkcs11:model=SoftHSM%20v2;manufacturer=SoftHSM%20project;serial=45e2053c207efe18;token=softhsm;id=%a6%7d%ed%52%9c%7f%ae%ea%45%5b%90%58%9c%10%03%e4%b9%5d%f7%e9;object=httpd;type=private?pin-value=123456 from engine
[...] [ssl:emerg] [...] SSL Library Error: error:0B080075:x509 certificate routines:X509_check_private_key:unknown key type

Expected results:
no problems

Comment 2 Stanislav Zidek 2019-01-09 17:28:26 UTC
(In reply to Stanislav Zidek from comment #0)
> Description of problem:
> Steps to Reproduce:
> 1. cd into directory with /CoreOS/p11-kit/Integration/httpd-pkcs11-uri
> 2. change KEYTYPES array to test rsa-pss - "KEYTYPES=(ecdsa)"

I meant ecdsa, not rsa-pss, of course. There is separate rsa-pss bug - bz1664802

Comment 3 Anderson Sasaki 2019-02-06 17:45:07 UTC
Created attachment 1527629 [details]
Minimal reproducer for the issue

Comment 4 Anderson Sasaki 2019-02-06 17:47:05 UTC
The root of this issue is because the openssl-pkcs11 engine does not extract the public key from the certificate, but tries to find a matching public key object inside the device when initializing the EVP_PKEY structure for the private key. So, if the public key is not present in the device, the EVP_PKEY structure returned by ENGINE_load_private_key() will not hold a reference to the public key.

When httpd calls X509_check_private_key() to verify if the private key matches with the certificate, it ends up calling EC_KEY_get0_public_key() to get the public key from the EVP_PKEY structure, which will return NULL, since the reference is not there. This causes a failure in the matching check and consequently the failure in httpd start up.

The solution for ECDSA, is to store both private and public keys in the device.

I've attached a minimal reproducer for this issue in comment 3.

Comment 9 Anderson Sasaki 2019-02-27 13:25:48 UTC
This issue was set to medium priority because it has a simple workaround and it has moderate impact on a small amount of users.

Comment 34 errata-xmlrpc 2020-04-28 16:58:10 UTC
Since the problem described in this bug report should be
resolved in a recent advisory, it has been closed with a
resolution of ERRATA.

For information on the advisory, and where to find the updated
files, follow the link below.

If the solution does not work for you, open a new bug report.


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