WildFly Elytron

WildFly Elytron

TLS 1.3 with WildFly

It is now possible to use TLS 1.3 with WildFly when running against JDK 11 or higher. This blog post will give an introduction to this new feature.

Disabled by Default

The use of TLS 1.3 is currently disabled by default with WildFly. This is because if JDK 11 is in use and if there is a very large number of TLS 1.3 requests coming in, it is possible that a drop in performance (i.e., throughput and response time) will occur compared to when using TLS 1.2 with WildFly. The good news is that simply upgrading to newer JDK versions should improve performance. It is recommended to test for performance degradation prior to enabling TLS 1.3 in a production environment.

Enabling TLS 1.3 on the Server Side

TLS 1.3 can be enabled by configuring the new cipher-suite-names attribute in the SSL Context resource definition in the Elytron subsystem. Let’s take a look at a complete example.

Pre-requisite Configuration

As a first step, we’re going to enable one-way SSL for applications deployed to WildFly using the security enable-ssl-http-server CLI command:

security enable-ssl-http-server --interactive
Please provide required pieces of information to enable SSL:

Certificate info:
Key-store file name (default default-server.keystore): server.keystore
Password (blank generated): secret
What is your first and last name? [Unknown]: localhost
What is the name of your organizational unit? [Unknown]:
What is the name of your organization? [Unknown]:
What is the name of your City or Locality? [Unknown]:
What is the name of your State or Province? [Unknown]:
What is the two-letter country code for this unit? [Unknown]:
Is CN=localhost, OU=Unknown, O=Unknown, L=Unknown, ST=Unknown, C=Unknown correct y/n [y]?y
Validity (in days, blank default): 30
Alias (blank generated): localhost
Enable SSL Mutual Authentication y/n (blank n):n

SSL options:
key store file: server.keystore
distinguished name: CN=localhost, OU=Unknown, O=Unknown, L=Unknown, ST=Unknown,
C=Unknown
password: secret
validity: 30
alias: localhost
Server keystore file server.keystore, certificate file server.pem and server.csr
 file will be generated in server configuration directory.

Do you confirm y/n :y
Server reloaded.
SSL enabled for default-server
ssl-context is ssl-context-6881a025-6c31-4bfe-ba4b-d8e7ebdde133
key-manager is key-manager-6881a025-6c31-4bfe-ba4b-d8e7ebdde133
key-store   is key-store-6881a025-6c31-4bfe-ba4b-d8e7ebdde133

As we can see from the output, the above command automatically generated a self-signed server certificate, added it to a newly created keystore, and added a new ssl-context resource, ssl-context-6881a025-6c31-4bfe-ba4b-d8e7ebdde133, to the Elytron subsystem in order to enable one-way SSL for applications deployed to WildFly.

Now, let’s try to access the WildFly landing page using curl:

curl -v -k https://localhost:8443
* SSL connection using TLSv1.2 / ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
* ALPN, server accepted to use h2
* Server certificate:
*  subject: C=Unknown; ST=Unknown; L=Unknown; O=Unknown; OU=Unknown; CN=localhost
*  start date: Feb 28 19:39:26 2020 GMT
*  expire date: Mar 29 18:39:26 2020 GMT
*  issuer: C=Unknown; ST=Unknown; L=Unknown; O=Unknown; OU=Unknown; CN=localhost
*  SSL certificate verify result: self signed certificate (18), continuing anyway.

Since the security enable-ssl-http-server command simply generated a self-signed server certificate for testing purposes, this server certificate won’t be trusted by curl. This is why we specified the -k option in the curl command.

Notice that in the above output, we can see that the TLS 1.2 protocol was used for the connection and that the ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 cipher suite was used.

Switching to TLS 1.3

To enable TLS 1.3, we just need to update our ssl-context configuration in the Elytron subsystem to specify the cipher-suite-names attribute. The format of this attribute is colon separated list of the TLS 1.3 cipher suites that you would like to enable. We’re going to set this attribute to TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384:TLS_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256:TLS_AES_128_GCM_SHA256:

# This is only needed when the ssl-context is configured to use specific protocol version(s) other
# than TLS 1.3. In general, this is not needed when the protocols attribute is simply undefined.
/subsystem=elytron/server-ssl-context=ssl-context-6881a025-6c31-4bfe-ba4b-d8e7ebdde133:write-attribute(name=protocols,value=[TLSv1.3])

/subsystem=elytron/server-ssl-context=ssl-context-6881a025-6c31-4bfe-ba4b-d8e7ebdde133:write-attribute(name=cipher-suite-names,value=TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384:TLS_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256:TLS_AES_128_GCM_SHA256)
reload

Now, let’s try to access the WildFly landing page using curl again:

curl -v -k https://localhost:8443
* SSL connection using TLSv1.3 / TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
* ALPN, server accepted to use h2
* Server certificate:
*  subject: C=Unknown; ST=Unknown; L=Unknown; O=Unknown; OU=Unknown; CN=localhost
*  start date: Feb 28 19:39:26 2020 GMT
*  expire date: Mar 29 18:39:26 2020 GMT
*  issuer: C=Unknown; ST=Unknown; L=Unknown; O=Unknown; OU=Unknown; CN=localhost
*  SSL certificate verify result: self signed certificate (18), continuing anyway.

Notice that this time, we can see that the TLS 1.3 protocol was used for the connection and that the TLS 1.3 TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384 cipher suite was used.

Enabling TLS 1.3 on the Client Side

When using the Elytron authentication client, it is now also possible to use TLS 1.3 by configuring the cipher-suite names attribute in the ssl-context configuration. For more details on that, take a look at the authentication client documentation.

Summary

This blog post has given an overview on how TLS 1.3 can be used with WildFly on both the server side and the client side. For more details, take a look at the Elytron documentation.