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An SSL certificate is necessary for more than just distributing the public key: if it is signed by a trusted third-party, it verifies the identity of the server so clients know they aren’t sending their information (encrypted or not) to the wrong person. So what is a self-signed certificate? It is a certificate that is signed by itself rather than a trusted third party. This is not a good idea for most  business use cases. You will almost never want to use a self-signed certificate on a public Apache server that requires anonymous visitors to connect to your site because they could easily become a victim of a man-in-the-middle attack. There are a limited number of situations in which a self-signed certificate may prove adequate:

  • Self-signed certificates can be used on an Apache development server. There is no need to spend extra cash buying a trusted certificate when you are just developing or testing an application.
  • Self-signed certificates can be used on an intranet. When clients only have to go through a local intranet to get to the server, there is virtually no chance of a man-in-the-middle attack.
  • Self-signed certificates can be used on personal sites with few visitors. If you have a small personal site that transfers non-critical information, there is very little incentive for someone to attack the connection.

In other words, when deploying your SoftNAS server into an enterprise use case, it may be required (or at least strongly recommended) that you switch the default self-signed certifications for your own enterprise certifications.

Purpose

This article provides the steps required in order to provide your own certifications to your SoftNAS instance.

Resolution

If you want to send or receive messages signed by root authorities and these authorities are not installed on the server, you must add a trusted root certificate manually.

Use the following steps to add or remove trusted root certificates to/from a server:

First, append your trusted certificate, and set the desired path.

cp new.crt /etc/pki/tls/certs

cp new.key /etc/pki/tls/private/ca.key

cp new.csr /etc/pki/tls/private/ca.csr

Once the new certificates and keys are appended, restart the service. 

service httpd restart

The next thing to do is to set up the virtual hosts to display the new certificate.

Open up the SSL config file:

vi +/SSLCertificateFile /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf

Change the paths to match where the Key file is stored. If you've used the method above it will be:

SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/ca.crt

Then set the correct path for the Certificate Key File a few lines below. If you've followed the instructions above it is:

SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/ca.key

Quit and save the file and then restart Apache.

service httpd restart

 

Notes/Additional Info:

  • It is HIGHLY recommended to add the certificates before configuring replication to avoid any SnapReplicate™ interruption, as changing the keys will deactivate replication.
  • In case there is a need to change the keys after configuring SnapReplicate™:

Execute the following command on both the target and source node and erase the ssh finger prints:

# sed -i '/OTHER-NODE-IP-ADDRESS/d' .ssh/known_hosts

Next, to add a new set of fingerprints, type the following command:

# ssh-keyscan   OTHER-NODE-IP-ADDRESS   >> .ssh/known_hosts

Log into the Web UI (StorageCenter) on both instances and try to activate HA again. The problem should be resolved. Contact support if you have further issues.