When striving to keep information in your PostgreSQL database safe, the first thing you need to do is to encrypt all connections to it for protecting authentication credentials (usernames / passwords) and stored data from interception. This guide is intended to help you in establishing secure SSL connection to your PostgreSQL container, hosted at CirrusGrid Cloud.
Below, we’ll explore the appropriate database server adjustment, required for SSL enabling, and certificates generation for it. Then, we’ll create and add certs for client machine and, lastly, will establish secure connection to our server via pgAdmin tool. So, let’s go on!
Obviously, for this tutorial we’ll use an environment with PostgreSQL database inside – you can easily create such if you haven’t done this yet.
1. To start with, connect to your database server via CirrusGrid SSH Gate.
2. Now, in order to make it work with SSL, you need to add the following three files to the /var/lib/pgsql/data server directory:
- server.key – private key
- server.crt – server certificate
- root.crt – trusted root certificate
Within this tutorial, we’ll briefly consider how you can generate them by yourselves.
So, navigate to the mentioned folder and proceed with steps below.
3. First of all, let’s create the first file – private key:
- execute the next commands:
cd /var/lib/pgsql/data openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 1024
During the server.key generation, you’ll be asked for a pass phrase – specify any and confirm it to finish creation.
- Now, in order to work with this key further, it’s required remove the pass phrase you’ve added previously. Execute the following command for this:
openssl rsa -in server.key -out server.key
Re-enter pass phrase one more time for confirmation.
- Set the appropriate permission and ownership rights for your private key file with the next commands:
chmod 400 server.key chown postgres.postgres server.key
4. Now, you need to create server certificate based on your server.key file, e.g.:
5. Since we are going to sign certs by ourselves, the generated server certificate can be used as a trusted root certificate as well, so just make its copy with the appropriate name:
cp server.crt root.crt
6. Open the pg_hba.conf file, located in the same folder, for editing with any preferable terminal editor (vim for example) or directly via dashboard.
Replace its default content with the following lines:
# TYPE DATABASE USER CIDR-ADDRESS METHOD # "local" is for Unix domain socket connections only local all all trust # IPv4 local connections: host all all 127.0.0.1/32 trust # IPv4 remote connections for authenticated users hostssl all webadmin 0.0.0.0/0 md5 clientcert=1
Save the updated file.
7. To finish configurations, you need apply some more changes to the postgresql.conf file.
Navigate to its Security and Authentication section (approximately at the 80th line) and activate SSL usage itself, through uncommenting the same-named setting and changing its value to “on”. Also, add the new ssl_ca_file parameter below:
ssl = on ssl_ca_file = 'root.crt'
Don’t forget to save these changes.
8. Lastly, restart your PostgreSQL container in order to apply new settings:
sudo service postgresql restart
Now, let’s create one more set of SSL certificate files for client instance, in order to support secure connection on both sides.
1. Return to the terminal window with SSH connection to your PostgreSQL server you’ve operated through during server setup (or reconnect to it) – you’ll need your server certificates for further actions.
Once inside, generate a private key for client (also without a pass phrase, just as it was done in the previous section), for example within the tmp directory:
openssl genrsa -des3 -out /tmp/postgresql.key 1024 openssl rsa -in /tmp/postgresql.key -out /tmp/postgresql.key
2. Next, create SSL certificate for your PostgreSQL database user (webadmin by default) and sign it with our trusted root.crt file on server.
openssl req -new -key /tmp/postgresql.key -out /tmp/postgresql.csr -subj '/C=US/ST=California/L=PaloAlto/O=Jelastic/CN=webadmin' openssl x509 -req -in /tmp/postgresql.csr -CA root.crt -CAkey server.key -out /tmp/postgresql.crt -CAcreateserial
3. After the files – postgresql.key, postgresql.crt, root.crt – are ready, you need to move them to to the .postgresql folder at your client machine (for that, you can use FTP add-on or just copy and paste files content).
Also, if needed, you can set the key read permission for owner only with the chmod 0400 ~/.postgresql/postgresql.key command to achieve more security.
Eventually, after server and client configurations are done, you are ready to establish the connection. In our case, we’ll use the pgAdmin 3 tool as an example, so get this application (or any other preferred one) installed beforehand.
We’ll consider the latter case – access environment Settings, switch to the Endpoints section and Add new endpoint with the same-named button at the top pane.
2. Now, when you have an access point, run your pgAdmin 3 client and select the New Server Registration option.
In the Properties tab of the opened window, specify the following data:
- Name – any desired connection name (e.g. ssl-to-pgsql)
- Host – access point you’ve added in the first step (Public IP address or endpoint Access URL without port number)
- Port – use the default port 5432 for External IP or endpoint’s Public port (denoted in the same-named section of the appropriate column)
- Username – database user you’ve set the SSL certificate and configurations for (i.e. webadmin by default)
- Password – the corresponding user’s password (sent via email for webadmin or the one you’ve set otherwise)
The rest of the fields can be left unchanged or adjusted according your requirements.
3. Next, switch to the SSL tab and, for the same-named line, select the require option from the drop-down list.
That’s all! The required certificates will be loaded automatically during the first connection establishment, so just click OK to start managing your database via secure connection.
Now you can connect your application to database (use the Connect to Database guide as an example) and enable SSL configurations for your project to encrypt your data while fetching/transferring.