Simplifying FedRAMP Compliance with Teleport
Jun 27
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Teleport

FedRAMP Compliance for Infrastructure Access

Teleport provides the foundation to meet FedRAMP requirements for the purposes of accessing infrastructure. This includes support for the Federal Information Processing Standard FIPS 140-2. This standard is the US government approved standard for cryptographic modules. This document explains how Teleport FIPS mode works and how it can help your company to become FedRAMP authorized.

Obtain FedRAMP authorization with Teleport

Teleport includes FedRAMP and FIPS 140-2 features to support companies that sell into government agencies.

Access controls

ControlTeleport Features
AC-02 Account ManagementAudit events are emitted in the Auth Service when a user is created, updated, deleted, locked, or unlocked.
AC-03 Access EnforcementTeleport Enterprise supports robust Role-based Access Controls (RBAC) to:
• Control which infrastructure resources a user can or cannot access.
• Control cluster level configuration (session recording, configuration, etc.)
• Control which Unix logins a user is allowed to use when logging into a server.
AC-07 Unsuccessful Logon AttemptsTeleport Enterprise supports robust Role-based Access Controls (RBAC) to:
• Control which resources a user can or cannot access.
• Control cluster level configuration (session recording, configuration, etc.)
• Control which Unix logins a user is allowed to use when logging into a server.
AC-08 System Use NotificationTeleport Enterprise supports robust Role-based Access Controls (RBAC) to:
• Control which resources a user can or cannot access.
• Control cluster level configuration (session recording, configuration, etc.)
• Control which Unix logins a user is allowed to use when logging into a server.
AC-10 Concurrent Session ControlTeleport administrators can define concurrent session limits using Teleport’s RBAC.
AC-12 Session TerminationAdmins can terminate active sessions with session locking. Teleport terminates sessions on expiry or inactivity.
AC-17 Remote AccessTeleport administrators create users with configurable roles that can be used to allow or deny access to system resources.
AC-20 Use of External Information SystemsTeleport supports connecting multiple independent clusters using a feature called Trusted Clusters. When allowing access from one cluster to another, roles are mapped according to a pre-defined relationship of the scope of access.

Audit and accountability

ControlTeleport Features
AU-03, AU-04, AU-12 Audit and Accountability – Content of Audit Records and AU-12 Audit GenerationTeleport contains an Audit Log that records cluster-wide events such as:
• Failed login attempts.
• Commands that were executed (SSH “exec” commands).
• Ports that were forwarded.
• File transfers that were initiated.
AU-10 Non-RepudiationTeleport audit logging supports both events as well as audit of an entire SSH session. For non-repudiation purposes, a full session can be replayed back and viewed.

Configuration management

ControlTeleport Features
CM-08 Information System Component InventoryTeleport maintains a live list of all nodes within a cluster. This node list can be queried by users (who see a subset they have access to) and administrators any time.

Identification and authentication

ControlTeleport Features
IA-02 Concurrent Session ControlIntegrates with SSO providers such as GitHub, Okta, Google, etc. Acts as its own SSO provider. Enforces the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA), including requiring per-session MFA. Supports PIV-compatible hardware keys, as well as connection and user limits.
IA-04 Identifier ManagementMaintains several unique identifiers: local users are required to be unique (unique username), roles have unique names and tied to organization roles via SSO, identifiers for devices are unique randomly generated IDs (UUID).
IA-08 Identification and Authentication (Non-Organizational Users)Teleport supports PIV-compatible hardware keys.
IA-03 Device Identification and AuthenticationTeleport requires valid x509 or SSH certificates issued by a Teleport Certificate Authority (CA) to establish a network connection for device-to-device network connection between Teleport components.

System and communications protection

ControlTeleport Features
SC-10 Network DisconnectionTeleport requires valid X.509 or SSH certificates issued by a Teleport Certificate Authority (CA) to establish a network connection for device-to-device network connection between Teleport components.
SC-12 Cryptographic Key Establish and ManagementTeleport initializes cryptographic keys that act as a Certificate Authority (CA) to further issue x509 and SSH certificates. SSH and x509 user certificates that are issued are signed by the CA and are (by default) short-lived. SSH host certificates are also signed by the CA. Teleport supports Hardware Security Modules (HSM).
Teleport Enterprise builds against a FIPS 140-2 compliant library (BoringCrypto) is available.
In addition, when Teleport Enterprise is in FedRAMP/FIPS 140-2 mode, Teleport will only start and use FIPS 140-2 compliant cryptography.
SC-13 Use of CryptographyTeleport Enterprise builds against a FIPS 140-2 compliant library (BoringCrypto). In addition, when Teleport Enterprise is in FedRAMP/FIPS 140-2 mode, Teleport will only start and use FIPS 140-2 compliant cryptography.
SC-17 Public Key InfrastructureCertificates Teleport initializes cryptographic keys that act as a Certificate Authority (CA) to further issue X.509 and SSH certificates. SSH and X.509 user certificates that are issued are signed by the CA and are (by default) short-lived. SSH host certificates are also signed by the CA.
SC-23 Session AuthenticityTeleport SSH and TLS sessions are protected with SSH user and X.509 client certificates. For access to the Web UI, Teleport uses bearer token auth stored in a browser token to authenticate a session. Upon user logout, SSH and TLS certificates are deleted from disk and cookies are removed from the browser.

mTLS

Teleport implements mTLS for all communications between user clients and Teleport servers with several exceptions listed below.

Following successful authentication to SSO Identity Provider, Teleport issues the authenticated user x.509 client certificates signed by its own internal x.509 CA. Target Teleport services and clients require valid x.509 certificates and mTLS for all target SSH, K8s, database, and web application connections.

Inside the ATO boundary, mTLS is used for communication between the Teleport proxy and internal hosts running all protocols.

mTLS exceptions

  • Teleport components provide read-only health check REST endpoints requiring only TLS.
  • Teleport offers optional web UI for Windows Desktop and SSH. For web UI access, Teleport uses TLS + session cookie + bearer token with proxy. Teleport Proxy converts web sessions to mTLS to reach out to Teleport servers.
  • Teleport offers optional SSH compatibility mode. In this mode Teleport dials target OpenSSH services using OpenSSH client certificates issued and signed by Teleport OpenSSH CA.
  • The connection from the Teleport Proxy to Teleport desktop agent is mTLS, but the connection Teleport desktop agent to an RDP server is only TLS. The agent authenticates itself to the RDP server via a virtual PIV-compatible smartcard containing a user certificate issued by Teleport’s internal CA.

FIPS mTLS details

In FIPS builds, Teleport uses Go’s BoringCrypto-based networking stack for all protocols.

For a detailed list of cryptographic algorithms used in FIPS mode please consult Teleport FIPS documentation.

You also can follow the Installation instructions for Teleport Enterprise edition to download and install the appropriate FIPS-compliant binaries for your operating environment and package manager or from compressed archive (tarball).

For example, you can download and install from the compressed archive by running the following commands:

Teleport Enterprise customers can download the custom FIPS package from their[Teleport account](https://teleport.sh). Look for `Linux 64-bit (FedRAMP/FIPS)`.

curl https://cdn.teleport.dev/teleport-ent-16.0.1-linux-$SYSTEM_ARCH-fips-bin.tar.gz.sha256
<checksum> <filename>
curl -O https://cdn.teleport.dev/teleport-ent-16.0.1-linux-$SYSTEM_ARCH-fips-bin.tar.gz

Verify that the checksums match

shasum -a 256 teleport-ent-16.0.1-linux-$SYSTEM_ARCH-fips-bin.tar.gz

tar -xvf teleport-ent-16.0.1-linux-$SYSTEM_ARCH-fips-bin.tar.gz
cd teleport-ent
sudo ./install

After you download and install, all of the Teleport Enterprise binaries are installed in the /usr/local/bin directory. You can verify you have FIPS-compliant binaries installed by running the teleport version command and verifying that the X:boringcrypto library is listed. For example:

teleport version
Teleport Enterprise 16.0.1 api/14.0.0-gd1e081e 1.22 X:boringcrypto

If your Teleport cluster runs on AWS, the cluster can run in US-East or US-West regions for services with low or moderate impact levels. For services with a high impact level, the cluster must run in a GovCloud region to support FIPS.

Configure the Teleport Auth Service

Save the following configuration file as /etc/teleport.yaml on the Teleport Auth Service:

version: v3
teleport:
  auth_token: xxxx-token-xxxx
  # Pre-defined tokens for adding new nodes to a cluster. Each token specifies
  # the role a new node will be allowed to assume. The more secure way to
  # add nodes is to use `ttl node add --ttl` command to generate auto-expiring
  # tokens.
  #
  # We recommend to use tools like `pwgen` to generate sufficiently random
  # tokens of 32+ byte length.
  # you can also use auth server's IP, i.e. "10.1.1.10:3025"
  auth_server: 10.1.1.10:3025

auth_service:
  # enable the auth service:
  enabled: true

  tokens:
  # this static token is used for other nodes to join this Teleport cluster
  - proxy,node:xxxx-token-xxxx
  # this token is used to establish trust with other Teleport clusters
  - trusted_cluster:xxxx-different-token-xxxx

  # To Support FIPS local_auth needs to be turned off and a SSO connector is
  # required to log into Teleport.
  authentication:
    # local_auth needs to be set to false in FIPS mode.
    local_auth: false
    type: saml

  # If using Proxy Mode, Teleport requires host key checks.
  # This setting needs is required to start in Teleport in FIPS mode
  proxy_checks_host_keys: true

  # SSH is also enabled on this node:
ssh_service:
  enabled: false

Configure the Teleport SSH Service

Save the following configuration file as /etc/teleport.yaml on the Node Service host:

version: v3
teleport:
  auth_token: xxxx-token-xxxx

  # Specify either the Proxy Service address...
  proxy_server: teleport.example.com:3080
  # or the Auth Service address
  auth_server: 10.1.1.10:3025

# Enable the SSH Service and disable the Auth and Proxy Services:
ssh_service:
  enabled: true
auth_service:
  enabled: false
proxy_service:
  enabled: false

Configure service unit file

Download the systemd service unit file from the examples directory on GitHub and save it as /etc/systemd/system/teleport.service on both servers.

run this on both servers:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable teleport

Start Teleport in FIPS mode

When using teleport start --fips, Teleport will start in FIPS mode.

  • If the --fips flag is selected, Teleport will fail to start unless the binaries are compiled with the appropriate cryptographic module (BoringCrypto).
  • If no TLS or SSH cryptographic primitives are specified, Teleport will default to FIPS-compliant cryptographic algorithms.
  • If TLS or SSH cryptographic primitives are not FIPS 140-2 compliant, Teleport will fail to start.
  • Teleport will always enable at-rest encryption for both DynamoDB and S3.
  • If recording proxy mode is selected, validation of host certificates should always happen.
  • Running commands like ps aux can be useful to note that Teleport is running in FIPS mode.

Deploy a Teleport Cluster in FIPS mode with Helm

Set the following values in your cluster-values.yaml configuration:

enterpriseImage: public.ecr.aws/gravitational/teleport-ent-fips-distroless
authentication:
  localAuth: false

As of Teleport version 15, versionOverride and extraArgs no longer need to be set in the values file to enable FIPS mode.

Default cryptographic algorithms

In FIPS mode, Teleport will use the following cryptographic algorithms by default.

Default FIPS ciphers for SSH:

Default FIPS Key Exchange Algorithms (KEX) for SSH:

  • ecdh-sha2-nistp256
  • ecdh-sha2-nistp384

Default FIPS Message Authentication Codes (MAC) for SSH:

Default FIPS Public Key Authentication Algorithms for SSH:

  • ecdsa-sha2-nistp256
  • ecdsa-sha2-nistp384
  • rsa-sha2-256
  • rsa-sha2-512

Default FIPS cipher suites for TLS 1.2:

  • tls-ecdhe-ecdsa-with-aes-128-gcm-sha256
  • tls-ecdhe-rsa-with-aes-128-gcm-sha256
  • tls-ecdhe-ecdsa-with-aes-256-gcm-sha384
  • tls-ecdhe-rsa-with-aes-256-gcm-sha384

Default FIPS cipher suites for TLS 1.3:

  • tls-aes-128-gcm-sha256
  • tls-aes-256-gcm-sha384

FedRAMP audit log

At the close of a connection (close of a *srv.ServerContext), the total data transmitted and received is emitted to the Audit Log.

What else does the Teleport FIPS binary enforce?

  • TLS protocol version is restricted to TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3.
  • All uses of non-compliant algorithms such as NaCl are removed and replaced with compliant algorithms such as AES-GCM.
  • Teleport is compiled with BoringCrypto.
  • User, host, and CA certificates (and host keys for recording proxy mode) only use 2048-bit RSA private keys.

Remote desktop access

Teleport uses Rust for RDP connections, and thus uses a fork of Cloudflare's boring library under the hood for FIPS-compliant TLS cryptography. The primary notable difference to the specifications listed above is that TLS is restricted to TLS 1.2 only (1.3 is not supported).

Note that arm64 FIPS builds do not support access to Windows desktops.