HTTPS

Jesse Wilson edited this page May 7, 2016 · 12 revisions

OkHttp attempts to balance two competing concerns:

  • Connectivity to as many hosts as possible. That includes advanced hosts that run the latest versions of boringssl and less out of date hosts running older versions of OpenSSL.
  • Security of the connection. This includes verification of the remote webserver with certificates and the privacy of data exchanged with strong ciphers.

When negotiating a connection to an HTTPS server, OkHttp needs to know which TLS versions and cipher suites to offer. A client that wants to maximize connectivity would include obsolete TLS versions and weak-by-design cipher suites. A strict client that wants to maximize security would be limited to only the latest TLS version and strongest cipher suites.

Specific security vs. connectivity decisions are implemented by ConnectionSpec. OkHttp includes three built-in connection specs:

  • MODERN_TLS is a secure configuration that connects to modern HTTPS servers.
  • COMPATIBLE_TLS is a secure configuration that connects to secure–but not current–HTTPS servers.
  • CLEARTEXT is an insecure configuration that is used for http:// URLs.

By default, OkHttp will attempt a MODERN_TLS connection, and fall back to COMPATIBLE_TLS connection if the modern configuration fails.

The TLS versions and cipher suites in each spec can change with each release. For example, in OkHttp 2.2 we dropped support for SSL 3.0 in response to the POODLE attack. And in OkHttp 2.3 we dropped support for RC4. As with your desktop web browser, staying up-to-date with OkHttp is the best way to stay secure.

You can build your own connection spec with a custom set of TLS versions and cipher suites. For example, this configuration is limited to three highly-regarded cipher suites. Its drawback is that it requires Android 5.0+ and a similarly current webserver.

ConnectionSpec spec = new ConnectionSpec.Builder(ConnectionSpec.MODERN_TLS)  
    .tlsVersions(TlsVersion.TLS_1_2)
    .cipherSuites(
          CipherSuite.TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256,
          CipherSuite.TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256,
          CipherSuite.TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256)
    .build();

OkHttpClient client = new OkHttpClient.Builder() 
    .connectionSpecs(Collections.singletonList(spec))
    .build();

Certificate Pinning

By default, OkHttp trusts the certificate authorities of the host platform. This strategy maximizes connectivity, but it is subject to certificate authority attacks such as the 2011 DigiNotar attack. It also assumes your HTTPS servers’ certificates are signed by a certificate authority.

Use CertificatePinner to restrict which certificates and certificate authorities are trusted. Certificate pinning increases security, but limits your server team’s abilities to update their TLS certificates. Do not use certificate pinning without the blessing of your server’s TLS administrator!

  public CertificatePinning() {
    client = new OkHttpClient.Builder()
        .certificatePinner(new CertificatePinner.Builder()
            .add("publicobject.com", "sha256/afwiKY3RxoMmLkuRW1l7QsPZTJPwDS2pdDROQjXw8ig=")
            .build())
        .build();
  }

  public void run() throws Exception {
    Request request = new Request.Builder()
        .url("https://publicobject.com/robots.txt")
        .build();

    Response response = client.newCall(request).execute();
    if (!response.isSuccessful()) throw new IOException("Unexpected code " + response);

    for (Certificate certificate : response.handshake().peerCertificates()) {
      System.out.println(CertificatePinner.pin(certificate));
    }
  }

Customizing Trusted Certificates

The full code sample shows how to replace the host platform’s certificate authorities with your own set. As above, do not use custom certificates without the blessing of your server’s TLS administrator!

  private final OkHttpClient client;

  public CustomTrust() {
    SSLContext sslContext = sslContextForTrustedCertificates(trustedCertificatesInputStream());
    client = new OkHttpClient.Builder()
        .sslSocketFactory(sslContext.getSocketFactory())
        .build();
  }

  public void run() throws Exception {
    Request request = new Request.Builder()
        .url("https://publicobject.com/helloworld.txt")
        .build();

    Response response = client.newCall(request).execute();
    System.out.println(response.body().string());
  }

  private InputStream trustedCertificatesInputStream() {
    ... // Full source omitted. See sample.
  }

  public SSLContext sslContextForTrustedCertificates(InputStream in) {
    ... // Full source omitted. See sample.
  }