Securing Node-Red with SSL and Username Authentication

node-red-ssl-iconOut of the box your connection to node-red is insecure.

If you are exposing node-red to the Internet or just want a more secure installation then you can:

  • Enforce an SSL connection.
  • Require Username and Password Authentication





Note:

When configuring multiple security settings I try to  configure one security setting at a time and test it before configuring the next.

Configuring SSL

To do that you will need to install a certificate and key on your node-red server.

In this tutorial we will be using a self signed certificate which we will create ourselves using openssl and I will be using raspberry pi to host node red.

Creating a Self Signed Certificate

1.Create a private key

openssl genrsa -out node-key.pem 2048

2. Create a certificate Request

openssl req -new -sha256 -key node-key.pem -out node-csr.pem

You will need to fill out a form the most important entry is near the end and is the common name field.

This should be the FQDN of the server hosting nod-red or the IP address. I used raspberrypi.home

3. Sign the Certificate with the Private key to create a self signed Certificate

openssl x509 -req -in node-csr.pem -signkey node-key.pem -out node-cert.pem

Note: I created my files in  sub folder of my .node-red folder called nodecerts.

Editing the Node-Red Settings File

I recommend you use your own settings file while you are trying this. You can copy the settings file to the default location when you have tested the configuration.

The default settings file is called settings.js located in /usr/lib/node-modules/node-red/ folder by default. (Raspberry pi).

I copied this to my .node-red folder and renamed it mysettings.js.

You need to do the following:

un-comment the line

var fs=require("fs")

Which is near the top of the file.

In the AdminAuth section un-comment the https section and edit as shown in the screenshot below:

nodered-ssl-config

There is another setting

requireHttps: true,

Note: there should be a comma at the end

This should cause a redirect to https if you try connecting to http.

Note:I didn’t get this to work with SSL so you may need to skip this.

You can now start node-red using:

node-red -s mysettings.js

Now when you connect using the browser you should get a certificate warning which you can override.

ssl-browser-warning

Username and Password Authentication

The Node-Red Editor and Admin API support two types of authentication:

  • username/password credential based authentication
  • OAuth/OpenID  authentication -since Node-RED 0.17:

On node-red there are three places were you can configure/require authentication.

  • The Admin console- Node red editor
  • Nodes
  • Static Pages

In this section we will look at username and password authentication for the admin console.

The default settings file has a section called Securing node red which is commented out and serves as a template.

node-red-settings-security

The default entry shows the userAdmin with a password of password (hashed) and all permissions (* wildcard).

You can create additional users by copying the users section and editing accordingly.

node-red-user-security

Note: The password hash for steve is different than that of admin,but the actual password is the same. This is how the bcrypt algorithm works

Steve has got read permissions which means that he cannot edit or create new flows.

Generating Passwords

You can create passwords for use in the settings file by using the admin command line hash-pw command as follows:

node-red-rcreate-password

If you right click on the password you can copy it using CRT+C.

When you try to connect to the admin page you should get a login screen.

node-red-login-screen

Securing Static Pages

Node-red can serve static web pages. These web pages are served from the usr/lib/node-modules/public folder by default.

You can change to location by using the httpStatic setting in the settings file.

Generally you would want to move it to a folder in your home directory e.g.

httpStatic ‘/home/steve/.node-red/node-red-static/’

You can secure this folder using the httpStaticAuth setting.

node-red-secure-static

You create the passwords using the hash-pw command line tools as before.

When you try to access the page you should be prompted to loginnode-red-static-login

Summary

On a working system tightening the security on your node-red installation is important.

Requiring username/password authentication and SSL is a minimum requirement. See Exposing Node-Red to the Internet

Resources and Related Tutorials

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