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Postgres 12 highlight - Controlling SSL protocol

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The following commit has happened in Postgres 12, adding a feature which allows to control and potentially enforce the protocol SSL connections can use when connecting to the server:

commit: e73e67c719593c1c16139cc6c516d8379f22f182 author: Peter Eisentraut <peter_e@gmx.net> date: Tue, 20 Nov 2018 21:49:01 +0100 Add settings to control SSL/TLS protocol version For example: ssl_min_protocol_version = 'TLSv1.1' ssl_max_protocol_version = 'TLSv1.2' Reviewed-by: Steve Singer <steve@ssinger.info> Discussion: https://www.postgresql.org/message-id/flat/1822da87-b862-041a-9fc2-d0310c3da173@2ndquadrant.com

As mentioned in the commit message, this commit introduces two new GUC parameters:

ssl_min_protocol_version, to control the minimal version used as communication protocol. ssl_max_protocol_version, to control the maximum version used as communication protocol.

Those can also take different values, which defer depending on what the version of OpenSSL PostgreSQL is compiled with is able to support or not, with values going from TLS 1.0 to 1.3: TLSv1, TLSv1.1, TLSv1.2, TLSv1.3. An empty string can also be used for the maximum, to mean that anything is supported, which gives more flexibility for upgrades. Note that within a given rank, the latest protocol will be the one used by default.

Personally, I find the possibility to enforce that quite useful, as up to Postgres 11 the backend has been taking automatically the newest protocol available with SSLv2 and SSLv3 disabled by being hardcoded in the code. However sometimes there are requirements which pop up, telling to make sure that at least a given TLS protocol needs to be enforced. Such things would not matter for most users but for some large organizations sometimes it makes sense to enforce some control. This is also useful for testing a protocol when doing development on a specific patch, which can happen when working on things like SSL-specific things for authentication. Another area where this can be useful is if a flaw is found in a specific protocol to make sure that connections are able to fallback to a safer default, so flexibility is nice to have from all those angles.

From an implementation point of view, this makes use of a set of specific OpenSSL APIs to control the minimum and maximum protocols:

SSL_CTX_set_min_proto_version SSL_CTX_set_max_proto_version

These have been added in OpenSSL 1.1.0, still PostgreSQL provides a set of compatibility wrappers which make use of SSL_CTX_set_options for older versions of OpenSSL, so this is not actually a problem when compiling with other versions, especially since OpenSSL 1.0.2 is the current LTS (Long-Time-Supported) version of upstream at this point.


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