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iOS9's App Transport Security states that connections that do not meet certain requirements will fail. Below are the requirements quoted from Apple's document (https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/technotes/App-Transport-Security-Technote/index.html)

  • The server must support at least Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol version 1.2.
  • Connection ciphers are limited to those that provide forward secrecy (see the list of ciphers below.)
  • Certificates must be signed using a SHA256 or greater signature hash algorithm, with either a 2048-bit or greater RSA key or a 256-bit or greater Elliptic-Curve (ECC) key.

I've checked that my server is indeed using a certificate with 2048-bit RSA key and signed using SHA256 hash algorithm. Anyhow, my Xcode7-built app failed to connect to my server with default ATS setting. After I set NSExceptionRequiresForwardSecrecy to NO in the app's Info.plist, however, the connection succeeded. So it looks like that my server isn't correctly configured with forward secrecy ciphers. Below is my current setting in nginx.conf:

ssl_protocols             TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
ssl_ciphers               'ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES128-GCM-SHA256:kEDH+AESGCM:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:DHE-DSS-AES128-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:AES128-GCM-SHA256:AES256-GCM-SHA384:AES128-SHA256:AES256-SHA256:AES128-SHA:AES256-SHA:AES:CAMELLIA:DES-CBC3-SHA:!aNULL:!eNULL:!EXPORT:!DES:!RC4:!MD5:!PSK:!aECDH:!EDH-DSS-DES-CBC3-SHA:!EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:!KRB5-DES-CBC3-SHA';

My certificate is issued by Comodo and the setting I used above is also from Comodo's support document (https://support.comodo.com/index.php?/Default/Knowledgebase/Article/View/789/37/certificate-installation-nginx).

According to Apple's document, with default ATS settings, accepted ciphers include:

  • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
  • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
  • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256
  • TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA

(It seems that my nginx's ssl_ciphers setting has these ciphers.)

And if NSExceptionRequiresForwardSecrecy is set to NO in the app's settings, following ciphers will also be accepted:

  • LS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
  • TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
  • TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA256
  • TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
  • TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256
  • TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA

With this set to NO, my app connects successfully to my server, though the reason remains unknown to me.

So my question is, how should I setup nginx for forward secrecy ciphers so that iOS9 (Xcode7) app with default ATS settings can connect successfully?


UPDATED:

I reconfigured my server following the guide from https://weakdh.org/sysadmin.html. I regenerate a new DH group with the following command:

openssl dhparam -out dhparams.pem 2048

and added it in my nginx configuration:

ssl_dhparam dhparams.pem;

But the connection from my app still fails. The nsurl --ats-diagnostics tool still indicates that the problem is caused by forward secrecy.


For diagnosis purpose, below is the ssltest result page screenshot of my server given by ssllabs:

enter image description here

  • The cipher list given by ssllabs does not match what you claim to have configured. Go to cipherli.st and try again. – Michael Hampton Oct 10 '15 at 8:22

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