[openssl-users] Error compiling openssh with openssl

Michael Wojcik Michael.Wojcik at microfocus.com
Mon Jun 11 16:14:03 UTC 2018

> From: openssl-users [mailto:openssl-users-bounces at openssl.org] On Behalf Of Salz, Rich via openssl-users
> Sent: Monday, June 11, 2018 08:52

> >  So is there is any other way we can still make it work without disabling FIPS mode ?

> No.  The version of openssh you are using makes API calls that are not allowed in FIPS mode. I suspect
> later versions of OpenSSH also do this, and therefore “FIPS mode openssh” will require some coding work.

The OP should also note this also implies this is an issue in OpenSSH, not OpenSSL. OpenSSL is working properly. FIPS 140-2 has various requirements, and OpenSSH is violating one of them.

And, further, note that even if there were a way to suppress this check without disabling FIPS mode, that would be pointless. A product that uses non-FIPS cryptography cannot claim FIPS validation or "FIPS Inside" (which is the claim that only FIPS-validated cryptography is used). Consequently, such a product doesn't meet the FIPS requirement, for customers who have such a requirement; and there's little or no other benefit to FIPS.

So, since you can't claim FIPS Inside while using OpenSSH, it seems your choices are: 1) disable FIPS mode and do not claim FIPS Inside; 2) find a commercial SSH implementation that is FIPS-validated, if there is such a thing; or 3) as Rich suggested, modify OpenSSH to only use FIPS-allowed APIs, which I suspect would not be trivial (but I haven't looked into it).

This is one of several reasons why FIPS 140-2 is a problem. Unfortunately the FIPS 140-3 effort seems to be moribund, and I haven't heard anything about "ISO FIPS" in some time.

Michael Wojcik
Distinguished Engineer, Micro Focus

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