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Re: securing FAS certs

Toshio Kuratomi schreef:
Mike McGrath wrote:
On Thu, 21 Aug 2008, Ricky Zhou wrote:

On 2008-08-21 02:21:34 PM, Mike McGrath wrote:
I've never actually used a crypto card... Do they add additional security
if they're sitting in a colo always plugged in?  If so how do they do
I might be wrong, but I think with such a card, encryption/signing takes
place entirely on the card, and thus the secret key is never transferred
anywhere off the card.

Ah, so the theory being that if someone happens to hit us, they're only
hitting us for as long as the machine is up / card is in.  And I assume
the card actually tracks serial numbers and things so we can revoke
anything that was signed in a questionable time?

That seems like it would work well. Jesse's been having troubles obtaining the card he wants, though (and his is a gpg card, not for ssl certificates).

Most of these cards work with OpenSSL just fine - though I'm not sure what additional hardware drivers are required to interface to the card.

All the card does is protect the private key from being obtained. When someone has (root) access to the machine, he can use the key for signing anyway. As such, an hsm should be connected only to a very secure machine, not running any other services and with highly restricted access. Connecting one to a Xen machine does not sound like a good idea :)

These keys are protected against hardware intrusion depending on their security level and will zero out the keys upon hardware tampering.

Kind regards,


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