PfSense as Internal LAN Certificate Authority



  • I've been reading about how you can promote pfSense be a Certificate Authority for all machines on your LAN.  I was thinking this would be a good idea to build in some extra security into the environment, and enable WPA2-Enterprise for wifi.  CSR's could be generated on clients, then signed through the pfSense shell.  I'm not looking to have self-signed certs for external device connections, except for OpenVPN.  However, I also have read some articles saying that your Certificate Authority (CA) should be on a machine that's not on the network, and locked in a safe.

    In trying to harden a home network, is it advisable to promote the pfSense firewall as the internal CA?  Or is it too risky due to potential key compromise, and only promote a CA that is completely air-gapped?  Thanks!


  • Rebel Alliance Global Moderator

    Air Gapped for a home network?  That is one really freaking tight tin foil hat to be sure..

    I use eap-tls via wpa enterprise for my wifi devices, laptops, phones, ipad, etc.. Who exactly do you think is going to compromise your CA??  Is the black helicopter ninja's going to come into your house?  Maybe the Chinese hackers really really want on your wifi network?

    Lets say they did get on the wifi, they should still be isolated from the rest of your network.



  • @johnpoz:

    Air Gapped for a home network?  That is one really freaking tight tin foil hat to be sure..

    I use eap-tls via wpa enterprise for my wifi devices, laptops, phones, ipad, etc.. Who exactly do you think is going to compromise your CA??  Is the black helicopter ninja's going to come into your house?  Maybe the Chinese hackers really really want on your wifi network?

    Lets say they did get on the wifi, they should still be isolated from the rest of your network.

    Well, just reading these forums alone, I've seen people mention they've been hacked, so it's not out of the realm of the possible.  That being said, I was curious about the best practice for this scenario, the practicality of the solutions, and what others have done.  I recently implemented pfSense at home.  My Netgear Nighthawk router\AP was providing firewall\DHCP\wifi\LAN previously, now I've simply bridged it to the pfSense machine…so all clients are still on the same LAN for now.  Sounds like that is not advisable.  But promoting pfSense to be the internal CA is something others do, and is advisable for home use?



  • If you want a more secure CA you should look into something that supports CRL's to be fetched from outside the device. Also set up an offline root CA (a virtual machine on a crypted drive, never attached to the internet or something similar) and a intermediate CA that is available for signing and CRL's. The offline root CA is only used to publish a new CRL for the intermediate CA.

    Then again.. is there any point of doing this for home use? Probably not..