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TLS

Orion supports the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to enable secure communications between clients (for example Besu) and Orion, and between Orion nodes.

Enable TLS and set TLS properties in the Orion configuration file:

  • For client TLS, set the clientconnectiontls property to strict.
  • For TLS between Orion nodes set the tls property to strict.

Generate Orion certificates before configuring TLS.

Configure TLS

Configure TLS in the Orion configuration file.

Example Orion configuration file using the created certificates

nodeurl = "<YOUR-COMMON-NAME>:8080/"
nodeport = 8080

clienturl = "<YOUR-COMMON-NAME>:8888/"
clientport = 8888

othernodes = ["<YOUR-COMMON-NAME>:8080"]

workdir = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin"

publickeys = ["orion.pub"]
privatekeys = ["orion.key"]

tls = "strict"

tlsservercert = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_cer.pem"
tlsserverchain = ["<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_ca.pem"]
tlsserverkey = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_cer.key"

tlsclientcert = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_cer.pem"
tlsclientchain = ["<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_ca.pem"]
tlsclientkey = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_cer.key"

tlsclienttrust = "ca"
tlsservertrust = "ca"

clientconnectiontls = "strict"
clientconnectiontlsservercert = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_cer.pem"
clientconnectiontlscertchain = []
clientconnectiontlsserverkey = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orion_cer.key"
clientconnectiontlsservertrust = "whitelist"
clientconnectiontlsknownclients = "<PATH-TO>/orion/bin/orionKnownClients"

nodenetworkinterface = "0.0.0.0"
clientnetworkinterface = "0.0.0.0"

Orion-to-Orion TLS Properties

Properties to configure TLS between Orion nodes.

tls

TLS status options are:

  • strict - All connections to and from other Orion nodes must use TLS with mutual authentication. See tlsservertrust and tlsclienttrust.
  • off - Mutually authenticated TLS is not used between Orion nodes. Unauthenticated connections to HTTPS hosts are still possible. Use only if another transport security mechanism like WireGuard is in place.

tlsservercert

File containing the server TLS certificate in Apache format. The certificate identifies this node to other nodes when they connect to the node API. Orion will create the certificate if it doesn’t exist.

tlsserverchain

List of files that make up the CA trust chain for the server certificate. The list can be empty for autogenerated / non-PKI-based certificates.

tlsserverkey

File containing the private key for the server TLS certificate. If the private key does not exist, it is created.

tlsservertrust

TLS trust mode for the server. The trust mode defines which nodes can connect to the server. Options:

  • whitelist - Only nodes presenting certificates with fingerprints in tlsknownclients can connect.

  • tofu - Trust-on-first-use. Only the first node that connects identifying as a certain host can connect as the same host in the future. Nodes identifying as other hosts can still connect. To restrict access, change the mode to whitelist after populating the tlsknownclients list.

  • ca - Only nodes with a valid certificate and chain of trust to one of the system root certificates can connect. Use the SYSTEM_CERTIFICATE_PATH environment variable to override the directory containing trusted root certificates.
  • ca-or-whitelist - Combination of ca and whitelist.
  • ca-or-tofu - Combination of ca and tofu. If a certificate is valid, it is always allowed and added to the tlsknownclients list. If it is self-signed, it is allowed only if it is the first certificate this node has seen for that host.
  • insecure-tofa - Trust-on-first-access. On first connection, the Common Name and fingerprint of the presented certificate is added to tlsknownclients. In subsequent connections, the client connection is rejected if the fingerprint has changed.
  • insecure-ca-or-tofa - A combination of ca and insecure-tofa.
  • insecure-record - Any client can connect. The client certificate fingerprint is added to the tlsknownclients file.
  • insecure-ca-or-record - A combination of ca and insecure-record.
  • insecure-no-validation - Any client can connect. Clients are added to the tlsknownclients file.

tlsknownclients

TLS known clients for the server. The tlsknownclients contains the fingerprints of public keys of other nodes that can connect to this node for the ca-or-tofu, tofu, and whitelist trust modes.

You can use Orion to generate certificates and automatically populate the tlsknownclients file.

tlsclientcert

File containing the client TLS certificate in Apache format. The certificate identifies this node to other nodes when it is connecting to the node API. If the certificate does not exist, it is created.

tlsclientchain

List of files that make up the CA trust chain for the client certificate. The list can be empty for autogenerated / non-PKI-based certificates.

tlsclientkey

File containing the private key for the client TLS certificate. If the private key does not exist, it is created.

tlsclienttrust

TLS trust mode for the client. The trust mode defines the servers to which this node connects. Options:

  • whitelist - Nodes only connects to servers it has previously seen and have been added to tlsknownservers. New servers are not added to tlsknownservers.
  • tofu - Trust-on-first-use. Node only connects to the same server for any given host. `This is similar to how OpenSSH works.
  • ca - Node only connects to servers with a valid certificate and chain of trust to one of the system root certificates. Use the SYSTEM_CERTIFICATE_PATH environment variable to override the directory containing trusted root certificates.
  • ca-or-whitelist - Combination of ca and whitelist.
  • ca-or-tofu - Combination of ca and tofu. If a certificate is valid, it is always allowed and added to the tlsknownservers list. If it is self-signed, it is allowed only if it is the first certificate this node has seen for that host.
  • insecure-record - This node connects to any server, regardless of certificate, and is added to the tlsknownservers file.
  • insecure-ca-or-record - Combination of ca and insecure-record.
  • insecure-no-validation - Node connects to any server. Servers are added to the tlsknownservers file.

tlsknownservers

TLS known servers for the client. The tlsknownservers contains the fingerprints of public keys of other nodes that this node has encountered for the ca-or-tofu, tofu, and whitelist trust modes.

You can use Orion to generate certificates and automatically populate the tlsknownservers file.

Client-to-Orion TLS Properties

Properties to configure TLS between the client (for example Besu) and Orion.

clientconnectiontls

TLS status options are:

  • strict - All connections between the client and Orion must use TLS with mutual authentication. See clientconnectiontlsservertrust.
  • off - Mutually authenticated TLS is not used for client connections. Unauthenticated connections to HTTPS hosts are still possible. Use only if another transport security mechanism like WireGuard is in place.

clientconnectiontlsservercert

File containing the server TLS certificate in Apache format. The certificate identifies this node to clients when they connect. If the certificate does not exist, it is created.

clientconnectiontlsserverchain

List of files that make up the CA trust chain for the server certificate. The list can be empty for autogenerated / non-PKI-based certificates.

clientconnectiontlsserverkey

File containing the private key for the server TLS certificate. If the private key does not exist, it is created.

clientconnectiontlsservertrust

Important

When using multi-tenancy, ensure the multi-tenant Orion node client API is configured to allow access only by the multi-tenant Besu node.

Use the whitelist trust mode to allow access to the appropriate Besu node.

The trust mode defines which clients can connect. Options:

  • whitelist - Only clients presenting certificates with fingerprints in clientconnectiontlsknownclients are allowed to connect.
  • tofu - Trust-on-first-use. The client is trusted to connect when first connecting to the server. The Common Name and fingerprint of the presented certificate is added to the clientconnectiontlsknownclients file. The client must present the same fingerprint on subsequent connections.
  • ca - Only clients certificates signed by a trusted CA and chain of trust to one of the system root certificates can connect. Use the SYSTEM_CERTIFICATE_PATH environment variable to override the directory containing trusted root certificates.
  • ca-or-whitelist - Combination of ca and whitelist clients are allowed to connect.
  • ca-or-tofu - Combination of ca and tofu.
  • insecure-tofa - Trust-on-first-access. The client is trusted to connect when first connecting to the server. The Common Name and fingerprint of the presented certificate is added to the clientconnectiontlsknownclients file. The client must present the same fingerprint on subsequent connections.
  • insecure-ca-or-tofa - Combination of ca and insecure-tofa.
  • insecure-record - Any client can connect and the certificate fingerprint is be added to the clientconnectiontlsknownclients file.
  • insecure-ca-or-record - Combination of ca and insecure-record
  • insecure-no-validation - Node connects to any server. Servers are added to the clientconnectiontlsknownclients file.

clientconnectiontlsknownclients

TLS known clients file for the client interface. Lists one or more clients that are trusted to connect to Orion. The file contents use the format <common_name> <hex-string> where:

  • <common_name> is the Common Name used for the client’s keystore
  • <hex-string> is the SHA-256 fingerprint of the client’s keystore.

Clients can connect to this node for the ca-or-tofu, tofu, and whitelist trust modes.

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