Creating a Self-signed Certificate for Secure FTP/Web Connections

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The whole point in this post is to run your own VPN service, and allow you to connect remote devices to your home network.

To start off yo…

From the following site:

Step 1: Generate a Private Key

The openssl toolkit is used to generate an RSA Private Key and CSR

(Certificate Signing Request). It can also be used to generate

self-signed certificates which can be used for testing purposes or

internal usage.

The first step is to create your RSA Private

Key. This key is a 1024 bit RSA key which is encrypted using Triple-DES

and stored in a PEM format so that it is readable as ASCII text.

openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 1024

Follow the on-screen instuctions.

Step 2: Generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request)

Once the private key is generated a Certificate Signing Request can be

generated. The CSR is then used in one of two ways. Ideally, the CSR

will be sent to a Certificate Authority, such as Thawte or Verisign who

will verify the identity of the requestor and issue a signed

certificate. The second option is to self-sign the CSR, which will be

demonstrated in the next section.

During the generation of the

CSR, you will be prompted for several pieces of information. These are

the X.509 attributes of the certificate. One of the prompts will be for

“Common Name (e.g., YOUR name)”. It is important that this field be

filled in with the fully qualified domain name of the server to be

protected by SSL. If the website to be protected will be , then enter at this prompt. The command to generate the CSR is as follows:

openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr

Step 3: Remove Passphrase from Key

One unfortunate side-effect of the pass-phrased private key is that

Apache will ask for the pass-phrase each time the web server is started.

Obviously this is not necessarily convenient as someone will not always

be around to type in the pass-phrase, such as after a reboot or crash.

mod_ssl includes the ability to use an external program in place of the

built-in pass-phrase dialog, however, this is not necessarily the most

secure option either. It is possible to remove the Triple-DES encryption

from the key, thereby no longer needing to type in a pass-phrase. If

the private key is no longer encrypted, it is critical that this file

only be readable by the root user! If your system is ever compromised

and a third party obtains your unencrypted private key, the

corresponding certificate will need to be revoked. With that being said,

use the following command to remove the pass-phrase from the key:

cp server.key    openssl rsa -in -out server.key

The newly created server.key file has no more passphrase in it.

-rw-r–r– 1 root root 745 Jun 29 12:19 server.csr    -rw-r–r– 1 root root 891 Jun 29 13:22 server.key    -rw-r–r– 1 root root 963 Jun 29 13:22

Step 4: Generating a Self-Signed Certificate

At this point you will need to generate a self-signed certificate

because you either don’t plan on having your certificate signed by a CA,

or you wish to test your new SSL implementation while the CA is signing

your certificate. This temporary certificate will generate an error in

the client browser to the effect that the signing certificate authority

is unknown and not trusted.

To generate a temporary certificate which is good for 365 days, issue the following command:

openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crt

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