TLS Client authentication using Bitnami Nginx stack

I've felt that I have to write it down since it took almost 2 days to find the root cause of:

[info] 30979#0: *2 client SSL certificate verify error: (18:self signed certificate) while reading client request headers, client: xxx, server: yyy, request: "GET / HTTP/1.1", host: "yyy"

Use nginx stack environment

Not generating the certificates inside the Bitnami environment was the root cause - at least I think it is. In your Bitnami installation folder (remember the instructions here) you'll find a small script called use_nginxstack:

$ cd /home/bitnami/nginxstack
$ ./use_nginxstack
bash-4.3# which openssl
/home/bitnami/nginxstack/common/bin/openssl

I still don't know why but you'll have to use the openssl binary inside the nginx stack.

Generate root CA

First generate a key for the root CA and then the correponding certificate:

bash-4.3# openssl genrsa -des3 -out ca.key 4096
bash-4.3# openssl req -new -x509 -days 365 -key ca.key -out ca.crt

Generate client certificate

First generate some client key (without any password):

bash-4.3# openssl genrsa -out client.key 2048

Then generate the client CSR:

bash-4.3# openssl req -new -key client.key -out client.csr

Then sign the CSR using the previously generated CA:

bash-4.3# openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in client.csr -CA ca.crt -CAkey ca.key -set_serial 01 -out client.crt

Configure nginx

To make this work you'll have to configure your nginx. In your nginx-vhosts.conf make sure you have this:

[...]

server {

    listen    443 ssl;
    [...]

    ssl_client_certificate "/home/bitnami/nginxstack/apps/wiki.dornea.nu/certs/ca.crt";
    ssl_verify_client on;
    [...]
}

[...]

Now restart your nginx and test it:

$ cd /home/bitnami/nginxstack
$ ./ctlscript.sh restart nginx
$ curl --insecure https://yourdomain/
curl --insecure https://wiki.dornea.nu
<html>
<head><title>400 No required SSL certificate was sent</title></head>
<body bgcolor="white">
<center><h1>400 Bad Request</h1></center>
<center>No required SSL certificate was sent</center>
<hr><center>nginx</center>
</body>
</html>

So your client has to specify the client certificate. Let's move on to next section.

Export/Import client key

Let's now export the client stuff in order to import it into your browser:

bash-4.3# openssl pkcs12 -export -clcerts -in client.crt -inkey client.key -out client.p12
Enter Export Password:
Verifying - Enter Export Password:

Now you should be able to import it into your browser. ALternatively you can use curl to test it:

$ curl -v -s -k --key client.key --cert client.crt https://yourdomain

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Published:
2016-02-18 00:00
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