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Troubleshooting/PrivilegeSeparation

How to debug FreeIPA privilege separation issues

Introduction

FreeIPA 4.5 implements privilege separation between different components of its management framework. To understand what changed, first let's look at how the FreeIPA management framework is built.

The FreeIPA management framework is a web application served via Apache's mod_wsgi module. Any user accessing the FreeIPA management framework is supposed to have a Kerberos principal associated with the user's account. The framework itself talks to the FreeIPA LDAP server and needs to authenticate to it. When a user connects to the framework over HTTPS, it either needs to authenticate with Kerberos or present a cookie from a previous authentication. For clients that don't support Kerberos, a special end point is available for password-based authentication. It produces a cookie that can be presented in subsequent requests.

For each service, the FreeIPA framework, the LDAP server Kerberos authentication is required. In Kerberos users obtain an initial ticket granting ticket (TGT) from a Kerberos KDC. This is used to obtain per-service authentication tickets and is never transferred over the network. A new, service ticket is obtained from the KDC and then presented to that service when authentication is required. The service ticket cannot be re-used by the target service to impersonate a user to another service unless the KDC allows it.

A Kerberos protocol extension called S4U2Proxy (or constrained-delegation) was developed by Microsoft to allow trusted services to impersonate Kerberos principals when performing operations on their behalf. The key word here is trusted, the ultimate decision point belongs to the KDC itself.

The FreeIPA management framework uses S4U2Proxy to authenticate to the LDAP server, therefore it is a trusted service and sits in a very valuable (for an attacker) position; it can impersonate any user that authenticated to the service against the LDAP server. Any security breach in the framework code could allow an attacker to sift through the authentication tokens received by the framework, find administrator credentials, steal them, and then use them against the LDAP server. This is especially bad when password-based authentication is performed, because in that case the framework does have access to a locally stored TGT.

The only way to prevent this exposure is to deny the FreeIPA framework direct access to the tickets and service credentials. But this effectively means inability to perform any Kerberos authentication on behalf of the user by the service itself.

To solve this problem GSS-Proxy was developed. GSS-Proxy is a service comprised of a special "interposer" plugin for the GSSAPI library and a separate daemon. The GSS-Proxy plugin intercepts all GSSAPI operations and diverts their execution to the GSS-Proxy daemon. The daemon performs these operations and returns encrypted structures which are them stored in a credential cache used by the client application. The client application cannot decode these structures by itself. This approach allows GSS-Proxy to implement privilege separation on a per ticket level.

With the help of GSS-Proxy the FreeIPA management framework is denied direct access to its own Kerberos keys. Any intruder running under Apache privileges will not be able to steal the service keys. Technically an intruder would be able to request a ticket but would not be able to retrieve actual credentials.

Session management was also changed. Instead of managing sessions in the framework and storing tickets in a cache, session are now manage by the mod_auth_gssapi module and tickets are stored on the filesystem, their contents encrypted by GSS-Proxy. Additionally the framework has been changed to run as a separate user named "ipaapi", it does not have the same privilegese the Apache server has. This, in combination with GSS-Proxy allows to prevent attacks that would result in stealing any keys and perform an attack from a remote system. The attack surface is seriously reduced.

FreeIPA 4.5 introduces also client certificate authentication support. In fact, it was possible to set up client certificate authentication since FreeIPA 4.4 but with version 4.5 the whole setup was streamlined and integrated with the rest of the framework.

Client certificate authentication is handled by mod_nss, an Apache module, but authentication is managed via the mod_auth_gssapi module in all cases to establish a session and to obtain Kerberos credentials. In fact mod_auth_gssapi has been enhanced to use another kerberos protocol extension called S4U2Self (or protocol-transition) to obtain tickets for users that were successfully authenticated by mod_nss. With this extension a trusted service (application) can request to the KDC a service ticket to itself on behalf of the user.

If the KDC trusts a service for both S4U2Self and S4U2Proxy operations, a service can fully impersonate any user to the target services (i this case the LDAP server). To prevent a breach in the framework to allow it to impersonate arbitrary users, the GSS-Proxy allow the protocol-transition operation for the HTTP service only if the request comes from the Apache user. This privilege separation mechanism prevents a breach of the framework code from allowing direct privilege escalation via impersonation, because the framework code runs as a different user in the system. Likewise constrained-delegation to obtain a ticket to the LDAP server is permitted only to the ipaapi user.

The consequence of privilege separation enhancements is that the FreeIPA management framework does not handle sessions directly and handles user authentication only for forms-based authentication, but does not retain access to user's TGTs in that case. Due to this change separate URLs for session and non-session based access are not necessary anymore, applications that present a cookie to the Apache server have immediate access regardless of the endpoint and lack of a cookie results in automatic GSSAPI negotiation. The session cookie is effectively just an optimization.

Logging in FreeIPA management framework

With multiple components involved in a user request processing, it is important to enable logging properly in all relevant components. There are several layers of logging available:

FreeIPA framework's Python code logging

FreeIPA has a global configuration file in /etc/ipa/default.conf. Settings in this file apply to all instances of the FreeIPA python code, be it client or server. However, a specific context, that has its own configuration file in /etc/ipa/server.conf, is used to specify options to the server side of the framework. This allows to avoid excessive debug information on the command line when debugging problems on IPA servers.

Add a debug = True option to the [global] section to enable debug logs. For the server side of the framework a restart of the httpd.service is required. Logs will appear in /var/log/httpd/error_log and will be intermixed with other log entries from other Apache modules.

Logging the activity of Apache modules

FreeIPA does only uses the logging functionality available in Apache. Its documentation is available at the Apache website.

Logging of Samba client operations

FreeIPA utilizes Python bindings to Samba libraries to set-up trusts to Active Directory. These libraries have their own logging facility. The FreeIPA code initializes Samba bindings with a special configuration file named /usr/share/ipa/smb.conf.empty. It is an empty configuration file that forces Samba bindings to ignore system-wide settings. In order to debug what the FreeIPA management framework does during trust to Active Directory operations, add the log level = <LEVEL> option to /usr/share/ipa/smb.conf.empty. Log levels aren't really standardized and different parts of Samba use different levels but for trust operations it is useful to set the log level to 10:

[global]
  log level = 10

This will allow Samba Python bindings to print all low level information and dump details of network packets in a human readable form. For DCE RPC operations both input and output structures will be decoded and printed. This is very useful to see what's wrong with a request or a response.

The configuration file smb.conf.empty is read every time a request that requires using Samba Python libraries is processed. Therefore a change of the log level does not require a restart of the httpd.service.

The same configuration file is used by an oddjobd helper that performs retrieval of the trusted forest topology. Since the helper is executed by the FreeIPA management framework via a D-BUS request, its output is returned back to the framework and is logged into Apache'a error_log along the other log entries of the framework.

Logging of GSS-Proxy

GSS-Proxy's configuration is defined in the /etc/gssproxy directory. It has series of files for each GSSAPI service and also a general /etc/gssproxy/gssproxy.conf. To enable a reasonable level of debug information use the following options:

[gssproxy]
  debug = true
  debug_level = 2

To apply configuration changes, reload or restart the gssproxy.service. Logs will be stored in the system journal and can be viewed with the help of journalctl -u gssproxy command.

GSS-Proxy logs every incoming request and the result of its processing. This information includes dates in UTC, so there are two dates displayed by journalctl: a date in local time zone and UTC, the latter is part of the string that GSS-Proxy logged to journald.

Below is a typical session that starts from an httpd process connecting to GSS-Proxy and asking to acquire credentials for the HTTP service. A log is redacted to remove a common date and hostname prefix displayed by journalctl utility:

-- Logs begin at Fri 2017-01-27 16:08:43 CET, end at Fri 2017-04-21 18:15:10 CEST. --
gssproxy[7186]: [2017/04/21 11:46:20]: Client connected (fd = 18)
                [2017/04/21 11:46:20]:  (pid = 25925) (uid = 48) (gid = 48)
                [2017/04/21 11:46:20]:  (context = system_u:system_r:httpd_t:s0)
                [2017/04/21 11:46:20]:
gssproxy[7186]: [2017/04/21 11:46:20]: gp_rpc_execute: executing 6 (GSSX_ACQUIRE_CRED) for service "ipa-httpd", euid: 48,socket: (null)
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_ARG_ACQUIRE_CRED( call_ctx: { "" [  ] } input_cred_handle: { "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } BOTH 86400 86400 } ] [ ...........L..N.... ] 0 } add_cred: 0 desired_name: <Null> time_req: 4294967295 desired_mechs: { { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } } cred_usage: BOTH initiator_time_req: 0 acceptor_time_req: 0 )
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_RES_ACQUIRE_CRED( status: { 0 { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } 0 "" "" [  ] } output_cred_handle: { "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } BOTH 86400 86400 } ] [ .h..LWMJ...k....... ] 0 } )

Lines with GSSX_ARG_ show arguments passed for this operation. Lines with GSSX_RES_ show the results of the operation. In the example above the application asks to acquire credential for the Kerberos principal HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL. The sequence { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } is the OID of Kerberos V5: 1.2.840.113554.1.2.2.

Kerberos service accepts incoming connections by using the gss_accept_sec_context() API call. This can be seen in the following example:

gssproxy[7186]: [2017/04/21 11:46:20]: gp_rpc_execute: executing 9 (GSSX_ACCEPT_SEC_CONTEXT) for service "ipa-httpd", euid: 48,socket: (null)
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_ARG_ACCEPT_SEC_CONTEXT( call_ctx: { "" [  ] } context_handle: <Null> cred_handle: { "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } BOTH 86400 86400 } ] [ .h..LWMJ...k....... ] 0 } input_token: [ ...i....H.......... ] input_cb: <Null> ret_deleg_cred: 1 )
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_RES_ACCEPT_SEC_CONTEXT( status: { 0 { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } 0 "" "" [  ] } context_handle: { [ ......H............ ] [  ] 0 { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" "HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL" 86692 443 0 1 } output_token: [ .......H........... ] delegated_cred_handle: { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } INITIATE 86392 0 } ] [ l.P...8H......T.... ] 0 } )

The httpd service asks to perform a gss_accept_sec_context() call and requires that delegated credential are returned (ret_deleg_cred: 1). The result of running gss_accept_sec_context() is an output token. Note that the delegated credential describes the Kerberos principal of the user that performed the access, admin@XS.IPA.COOL in this case.

After the user is authenticated, its cookie is parsed and the Kerberos credential is located. Note that the operation is performed by a different process, actual FreeIPA framework instance running under the ipaapi user identity:

gssproxy[7186]: [2017/04/21 11:46:20]: gp_rpc_execute: executing 6 (GSSX_ACQUIRE_CRED) for service "ipa-api", euid: 384,socket: (null)
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_ARG_ACQUIRE_CRED( call_ctx: { "" [  ] } input_cred_handle: { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } INITIATE 86392 0 } ] [ l.P...8H......T.... ] 0 } add_cred: 0 desired_name: <Null> time_req: 4294967295 desired_mechs: { { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } } cred_usage: INITIATE initiator_time_req: 0 acceptor_time_req: 0 )
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_RES_ACQUIRE_CRED( status: { 0 { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } 0 "" "" [  ] } output_cred_handle: { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } INITIATE 86392 0 } ] [ l.P...8H......T.... ] 0 } )

This process has no access to the keytab used by httpd but can ask GSS-Proxy to return a ticket for a user that was authenticated. Once the ticket is obtained, it can be used to talk to a different service, in our case the IPA LDAP server:

gssproxy[7186]: [2017/04/21 11:46:20]: gp_rpc_execute: executing 8 (GSSX_INIT_SEC_CONTEXT) for service "ipa-api", euid: 384,socket: (null)
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_ARG_INIT_SEC_CONTEXT( call_ctx: { "" [  ] } context_handle: <Null> cred_handle: { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" [ { "admin@XS.IPA.COOL" { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } INITIATE 86392 0 } ] [ l.P...8H......T.... ] 0 } target_name: "ldap@nyx.xs.ipa.cool" mech_type: { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } req_flags: 58 time_req: 0 input_cb: <Null> input_token: <Null> [ { [ sync.modified.cr... ] [ 64656661756c740 ] } ] )
gssproxy[7186]: [2017/04/21 11:46:20]: Credentials allowed by configuration
gssproxy[7186]:     GSSX_RES_INIT_SEC_CONTEXT( status: { 1 { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } 0 "The routine must be called again to complete its function" "" [  ] } context_handle: { [ ......H............ ] [  ] 0 { 1 2 840 113554 1 2 2 } "" "" 0 314 1 0 } output_token: [ ...A....H.......... ] [ { [ 73796e635f63726564730 ] [ ....admin.XS.IPA... ] } ] )

To receive a proper ticket a few more exchanges are required, this can be seen by the response from GSS-Proxy telling that "The routine must be called again to complete its function". This is a normal flow for GSSAPI exchanges.

Logging of KDC operations

Each Kerberos request to obtain an initial (TGT) or a service ticket will be reflected in the KDC logs. The KDC writes its log in the /var/log/krb5kdc.log file. Below is an example of how the KDC log looks like with common date and hostname information removed. In the original log file timestamps are in local time zone format.

krb5kdc[15953](info): TGS_REQ (8 etypes {18 17 20 19 16 23 25 26}) IP.AD.DR.ES: ISSUE: authtime 1492775177, etypes {rep=18 tkt=18 ses=18}, admin@XS.IPA.COOL for HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL
krb5kdc[15953](info): closing down fd 11
krb5kdc[15954](info): AS_REQ (8 etypes {18 17 16 23 25 26 20 19}) IP.AD.DR.ES: NEEDED_PREAUTH: HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL for krbtgt/XS.IPA.COOL@XS.IPA.COOL, Additional pre-authentication required
krb5kdc[15954](info): closing down fd 11
krb5kdc[15954](info): AS_REQ (8 etypes {18 17 16 23 25 26 20 19}) IP.AD.DR.ES: ISSUE: authtime 1492775180, etypes {rep=18 tkt=18 ses=18}, HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL for krbtgt/XS.IPA.COOL@XS.IPA.COOL
krb5kdc[15954](info): closing down fd 11
krb5kdc[15953](info): TGS_REQ (8 etypes {18 17 20 19 16 23 25 26}) IP.AD.DR.ES: ISSUE: authtime 1492775177, etypes {rep=18 tkt=18 ses=18}, HTTP/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL for ldap/nyx.xs.ipa.cool@XS.IPA.COOL
krb5kdc[15953](info): ... CONSTRAINED-DELEGATION s4u-client=admin@XS.IPA.COOL
krb5kdc[15953](info): closing down fd 11

A log entry includes the type of operation (AS_REQ or TGS_REQ), the list of requested encryption types, the IP address of the client and the result of the operation. We can see that an administrator requested a service ticket to the HTTP/.. service to perform Kerberos authentication as requested by mod_auth_gssapi. On the server side the HTTP/.. service needs to obtain its own initial ticket (a request for service ticket to krbtgt/..). After the FreeIPA framework got to actually process the user's request, it needed to obtain a service ticket to the LDAP/.. service. The KDC recorded in the log that this request was actually done as a S4U2Proxy operation, performing constrained delegation for the client admin@.. which is the original user Kerberos principal.

ccache storage

The ccaches are stored by mod_auth_gssapi in /run/ipa/ccaches. This directory is managed by /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/ipa.conf. If the permissions or ownership are incorrect then one may get the error: <code ipa: ERROR: cannot connect to 'https://ipa.example.test/ipa/session/json': Exceeded number of tries to forward a request.

To re-apply the tmpfiles configuration run (in this case fixing bad permissions on /run/ipa/ccaches):

# SYSTEMD_LOG_LEVEL=7 systemd-tmpfiles --create  /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/ipa.conf
Looking for configuration files in (higher priority first):
        /etc/tmpfiles.d
        /run/tmpfiles.d
        /usr/local/lib/tmpfiles.d
        /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d
Successfully loaded SELinux database in 1.514ms, size on heap is 329K.
Reading config file "/usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/ipa.conf"…
Running create action for entry d /run/ipa
Found existing directory "/run/ipa".
"/run/ipa" has correct mode 40711 already.
Running create action for entry d /run/ipa/ccaches
Found existing directory "/run/ipa/ccaches".
Changing "/run/ipa/ccaches" to mode 6770.
Running create action for entry a /run/ipa/ccaches
Setting access ACL u::rwx,g::rwx,g:apache:rwx,m::rwx,o::--- on /run/ipa/ccaches.