Use Only FIPS 140-2 Validated Ciphers

Description

Limit the ciphers to those algorithms which are FIPS-approved. Counter (CTR) mode is also preferred over cipher-block chaining (CBC) mode. The following line in /etc/ssh/sshd_config demonstrates use of FIPS-approved ciphers:

Ciphers aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,aes256-ctr,aes128-cbc,3des-cbc,aes192-cbc,aes256-cbc

The man page sshd_config(5) contains a list of supported ciphers.

The rule is parametrized to use the following ciphers: .

Rationale

Unapproved mechanisms that are used for authentication to the cryptographic module are not verified and therefore cannot be relied upon to provide confidentiality or integrity, and system data may be compromised.

Operating systems utilizing encryption are required to use FIPS-compliant mechanisms for authenticating to cryptographic modules.

FIPS 140-2 is the current standard for validating that mechanisms used to access cryptographic modules utilize authentication that meets industry and government requirements. For government systems, this allows Security Levels 1, 2, 3, or 4 for use on Ubuntu 20.04.

Remediation

Shell script

The following script can be run on the host to remediate the issue.

#!/bin/bash

# Remediation is applicable only in certain platforms
if [ ! -f /.dockerenv ] && [ ! -f /run/.containerenv ]; then

sshd_approved_ciphers='<xccdf-1.2:sub idref="xccdf_org.ssgproject.content_value_sshd_approved_ciphers" use="legacy"/>'


# Strip any search characters in the key arg so that the key can be replaced without
# adding any search characters to the config file.
stripped_key=$(sed 's/[\^=\$,;+]*//g' <<< "^Ciphers")

# shellcheck disable=SC2059
printf -v formatted_output "%s %s" "$stripped_key" "$sshd_approved_ciphers"

# If the key exists, change it. Otherwise, add it to the config_file.
# We search for the key string followed by a word boundary (matched by \>),
# so if we search for 'setting', 'setting2' won't match.
if LC_ALL=C grep -q -m 1 -i -e "^Ciphers\\>" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"; then
    escaped_formatted_output=$(sed -e 's|/|\\/|g' <<< "$formatted_output")
    LC_ALL=C sed -i --follow-symlinks "s/^Ciphers\\>.*/$escaped_formatted_output/gi" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
else
    if [[ -s "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" ]] && [[ -n "$(tail -c 1 -- "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" || true)" ]]; then
        LC_ALL=C sed -i --follow-symlinks '$a'\\ "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
    fi
    printf '%s\n' "$formatted_output" >> "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
fi

else
    >&2 echo 'Remediation is not applicable, nothing was done'
fi

Warning

The system needs to be rebooted for these changes to take effect.