Extremely simple HTTPS client in Go, along with all the openssl commands to make certs work. Errors and solutions in the documentation.
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README.md

TLS Connection Options in Golang

This is not an official Google product

Golang sample code for a minimal HTTPS client and server that demos:

  • a server certificate that satisfies SAN requirements.
  • a client that trusts a specific certificate.
  • a server that authenticates the client based on the client certificate used in connection negotiation.

Generating Key and Self Signed Cert

openssl req \
    -x509 \
    -nodes \
    -newkey rsa:2048 \
    -keyout server.key \
    -out server.crt \
    -days 3650 \
    -subj "/C=GB/ST=London/L=London/O=Global Security/OU=IT Department/CN=*"

Running the Server

go run https_server.go

Running the Client

go run https_client.go

Error/Solution

Error: x509: certificate signed by unknown authority

Solution: The certificate served by https_server is self signed. This message means that the Go lang https library can't find a way to trust the certificate the server is responding with.

There are two possible solutions.

  1. Disable the client side certificate verification. This solution has the advantage of expediency, but the disadvantage of making your client code susceptible to man in the middle attacks.

    @@ -11,7 +11,9 @@ import (
     func main() {
            client := &http.Client{
                    Transport: &http.Transport{
    -                       TLSClientConfig: &tls.Config{},
    +                       TLSClientConfig: &tls.Config{
    +                               InsecureSkipVerify: true,
    +                       },
                    },
            }
  2. Add the server certificate to the list of certificate authorities trusted by the client.

    @@ -9,9 +10,18 @@ import (
     )
    
     func main() {
    +       caCert, err := ioutil.ReadFile("server.crt")
    +       if err != nil {
    +               log.Fatal(err)
    +       }
    +       caCertPool := x509.NewCertPool()
    +       caCertPool.AppendCertsFromPEM(caCert)
    +
            client := &http.Client{
                    Transport: &http.Transport{
    -                       TLSClientConfig: &tls.Config{},
    +                       TLSClientConfig: &tls.Config{
    +                               RootCAs: caCertPool,
    +                       },
                    },
            }

Error: x509: invalid signature: parent certificate cannot sign this kind of certificate

Solution: The wrong kind of server certificate was generated. The property in the CA that signed the server certificate indicates that the signing certificate is not a CA. Since this is a self signed server certificate, it needs the signing permission to sign itself.

Using openssl x509 -in server.crt -text -noout to look at the details of the server certificate reveals that it is missing the CA flag, which should look like this:

            X509v3 Basic Constraints:
                CA:TRUE

Error: x509: cannot validate certificate for 127.0.0.1 because it doesn't contain any IP SANs

Solution: A SAN is a Subject Alternative Name, an x509 extension that allows additional names to be specified as valid domains for the certficate.

Starting with Go 1.3, when connecting to a server via the IP address rather than the hostname, the CN field in the server certificate is ignored by the client golang libraries and names specified as SANs will be used instead.

Using openssl x509 -in server.crt -text -noout to look at the details of the server certificate reveals that it is missing a SAN section, which should look like this:

        X509v3 extensions:
            X509v3 Subject Alternative Name:
                IP Address:127.0.0.1

There are two possible solutions.

  1. Use a name to connect to the server instead of an IP address. If the client connects with a name matching the certificate CN, a SAN is not required.

    -       resp, err := client.Get("https://127.0.0.1:8443")
    +       resp, err := client.Get("https://localhost:8443")

    Using openssl x509 -in server.crt -text -noout to look at the Subject line should show CN= matching the name of the server. localhost or * will work.

            Subject: CN=*
    
  2. Add a SAN to the certificate with the IP address of the server.

    To add a SAN to a certificate, there is multiple steps required, that will generate a separate CA and use that to sign the server certificate signing request.

    openssl req \
        -newkey rsa:2048 \
        -nodes \
        -days 3650 \
        -x509 \
        -keyout ca.key \
        -out ca.crt \
        -subj "/CN=*"
    openssl req \
        -newkey rsa:2048 \
        -nodes \
        -keyout server.key \
        -out server.csr \
        -subj "/C=GB/ST=London/L=London/O=Global Security/OU=IT Department/CN=*"
    openssl x509 \
        -req \
        -days 365 \
        -sha256 \
        -in server.csr \
        -CA ca.crt \
        -CAkey ca.key \
        -CAcreateserial \
        -out server.crt \
        -extfile <(echo subjectAltName = IP:127.0.0.1)

Error: tls: client didn't provide a certificate

Solution: When the server code has the option set to authenticate client connections using the client certificate, like this:

-       cfg := &tls.Config{}
+       cfg := &tls.Config{
+               ClientAuth: tls.RequireAndVerifyClientCert,
+       }

the server will drop connections from clients using certs that are untrusted, where trust is established by a relationship to one of the CAs that the TLS server knows about.

In order to establish a connection, the client will have to present a trusted certificate. To start, generate a client certificate to use:

openssl req \
    -x509 \
    -nodes \
    -newkey rsa:2048 \
    -keyout client.key \
    -out client.crt \
    -days 3650 \
    -subj "/C=GB/ST=London/L=London/O=Global Security/OU=IT Department/CN=*"

Next, configure the client to send a certificate with connection attempts:

+       cert, err := tls.LoadX509KeyPair("client.crt", "client.key")
+       if err != nil {
+               log.Fatal(err)
+       }
+
        client := &http.Client{
                Transport: &http.Transport{
                        TLSClientConfig: &tls.Config{
                                RootCAs:      caCertPool,
+                               Certificates: []tls.Certificate{cert},
                        },
                },
        }

Then, configure the server to trust the client certificate:

+       caCert, err := ioutil.ReadFile("client.crt")
+       if err != nil {
+               log.Fatal(err)
+       }
+       caCertPool := x509.NewCertPool()
+       caCertPool.AppendCertsFromPEM(caCert)
        cfg := &tls.Config{
                ClientAuth: tls.RequireAndVerifyClientCert,
+               ClientCAs:  caCertPool,
        }