Product Documentation

Enhanced SSL Profiles Infrastructure Overview

Sep 01, 2016

Vulnerabilities in SSLv3 and RC4 implementation have emphasized the need to use the latest ciphers and protocols to negotiate the security settings for a network connection. Implementing any changes to the configuration, such as disabling SSLv3 across thousands of SSL end points, is a cumbersome process. Therefore, settings that were part of the SSL end points configuration have been moved to the SSL profiles, along with the default ciphers. To implement changes in the configuration, including cipher support, you need only modify the profile that is bound to the entities.

The default SSL profiles (default front-end and default back-end) contain all the default ciphers and ECC curves, in addition to the settings that were part of the old profiles. Sample outputs for the default profiles are provided in the appendix. The Enable Default Profile operation automatically binds the default front-end profile to all front-end entities, and the default back-end profile to all back-end entities. You can modify a default profile to suit your deployment. You can also create custom profiles and bind them to SSL entities.


After the upgrade, if you enable the default profiles, you cannot undo the changes. That is, the profiles cannot be disabled. Save the configuration and create a copy of the configuration file (ns.conf) before enabling the profiles.

By default, some SSL parameters, called global parameters, apply to all the SSL end points. However, if a profile is bound to an SSL end point, the global parameters do not apply. The settings specified in the profile apply instead.

Points to Note

  1. A profile can be bound to multiple virtual servers, but a virtual server can have only one profile bound to it.
  2. You cannot delete a profile that is bound to a virtual server without first unbinding the profile.
  3. A cipher or cipher group can be bound to multiple profiles at different priorities.
  4. A profile can have multiple ciphers and cipher groups bound at different priorities.
  5. Changes to a cipher group are immediately reflected in all the profiles and in all the virtual servers that one of the profiles is bound to.
  6. If a cipher suite is part of a cipher group, you cannot remove the cipher suite from the profile without first editing the cipher group to remove the specific cipher suite.
  7. If you do not assign a priority to a cipher suite or cipher group that you attach to a profile, it is assigned the lowest priority within the profile.
  8. You can create a custom cipher group (also called a user-defined cipher group) from existing cipher groups and cipher suites. If you create cipher group A and add existing cipher groups X and Y to it, in that order, cipher group Y is assigned at a lower priority than cipher group X. That is, the group that is added first has a higher priority.
  9. If a cipher suite is already part of a cipher group that is attached to a profile, and the same cipher suite is part of another cipher group that is also attached to the same profile, the cipher suite is not added again as part of the second cipher group. The cipher suite at the higher priority is in effect when traffic is processed.
  10. Cipher groups are not expanded in the profile. As a result, the number of lines in the configuration file (ns.conf) is greatly reduced. For example, if there are a thousand SSL virtual servers to which two cipher groups are bound, and each cipher group contains 15 ciphers, expansion would result in 30*1000 entries related to ciphers in the configuration file. With the new profile, it would have only two entries: one for each cipher group that is bound to a profile.
  11. Creating a user defined cipher group from existing ciphers and cipher groups is a copy-paste operation. Any changes in the original group are not reflected in the new group.
  12. A user-defined cipher group lists all the profiles that it is a part of.
  13. A profile lists all the SSL virtual server, services, and service groups that it is bound to.
  14. If the default SSL profile feature is enabled, you must use the profile to set or change any of the attributes of a virtual server, service, service group, or an internal service.


SSL profiles are not supported in a cluster setup, or with Admin Partitions.