6.7 Ensure FIPS 140-2 OpenSSL Cryptography Is Used


Install, configure, and use OpenSSL on a platform that has a NIST certified FIPS 140-2 installation of OpenSSL. This provides PostgreSQL instances the ability to generate and validate cryptographic hashes to protect unclassified information requiring confidentiality and cryptographic protection, in accordance with the data owner's requirements.


Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 140-2 is a computer security standard developed by a U.S. Government and industry working group for validating the quality of cryptographic modules. Use of weak, or untested, encryption algorithms undermines the purposes of utilizing encryption to protect data. PostgreSQL uses OpenSSL for the underlying encryption layer.

The database and application must implement cryptographic modules adhering to the higher standards approved by the federal government since this provides assurance they have been tested and validated. It is the responsibility of the data owner to assess the cryptography requirements in light of applicable federal laws, Executive Orders, directives, policies, regulations, and standards.

For detailed information, refer to NIST FIPS Publication 140-2, Security Requirements for Cryptographic Modules. Note that the product's cryptographic modules must be validated and certified by NIST as FIPS-compliant. The security functions validated as part of FIPS 140-2 for cryptographic modules are described in FIPS 140-2 Annex A. Currently, only Red Hat Enterprise Linux is certified as a FIPS 140-2 distribution of OpenSSL. For other operating systems, users must obtain or build their own FIPS 140-2 OpenSSL libraries.


Configure OpenSSL to be FIPS compliant as PostgreSQL uses OpenSSL for cryptographic modules. To configure OpenSSL to be FIPS 140-2 compliant, see the official RHEL Documentation. Below is a general summary of the steps required:

To switch the system to FIPS mode in RHEL 9:

# fips-mode-setup --enable
Kernel initramdisks are being regenerated. This might take some time.
Setting system policy to FIPS
Note: System-wide crypto policies are applied on application start-up.
It is recommended to restart the system for the change of policies
to fully take place.
FIPS mode will be enabled.
Please reboot the system for the setting to take effect.

Restart your system to allow the kernel to switch to FIPS mode:

# reboot

After the restart, you can check the current state of FIPS mode:

# fips-mode-setup --check
FIPS mode is enabled.

See Also


Item Details


References: 800-53|AC-17(2), 800-53|IA-5, 800-53|IA-5(1), 800-53|SC-8, 800-53|SC-8(1), CSCv7|14.4

Plugin: Unix

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