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Synology NAS and Custom Certificate Authorities
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One of the easiest ways to get a trusted certificate for a Synology NAS is through its integrated Let's Encrypt support. While convenient, it requires the NAS to be accessible from the internet and the hostname ends up being part of public records through certificate transparency. In my case, I have a NAS on an internal network with its own private certificate authority which supports ACME (the same certificate provisioning protocol that Let's Encrypt uses). Since the NAS does not support custom ACME directories, I've been using the following steps to automate certificate management with the acme.sh tool.

Service Account

To start, create a dedicated user which will take care of managing the certificates. I called it certupdater and configure it with:

  • a password that can be used later
  • administrator group membership (for permissions to update certificates and restart services)
  • no default access to shared folders (aside from the homes folder for its automation)
  • no default access to applications (aside from DSM itself to manage the certificates)
Detailed Steps (DSM 7)
  1. Log in to Synology DSM as an administrator.

  2. Open the Control Panel application.

  3. Go to the User & Group component.

  4. Click the Create button.

  5. In the User Creation Wizard window...

    1. On the Enter user information page...

      1. For Name, enter certupdater.
      2. For Password, enter and confirm a secure value (or use Generate Random Password).
      3. Activate Disallow the user to change account password.
      4. Click the Next button.
    2. On the Join groups page...

      1. Activate the administrators group.
      2. Click the Next button.
    3. On the Assign shared folders permissions page, click the Next button.

    4. On the Assign application permissions page...

      1. For User Permissions, activate Deny for all but DSM.
      2. Click the Next button.
    5. On the Set user speed limit page, click the Next button.

    6. On the Confirm settings page, review and click the Done button.

Installation

For the next several steps we'll use a shell via the ssh service, logging in with the new user. If you use a custom SSH port, be sure to update the -p flag.

$ ssh -p 22 -l certupdater nas.internal.example.com

Check for the latest acme.sh release, then download and extract it to the user's home directory.

$ mkdir -p src/acme.sh
$ wget -O- https://github.com/acmesh-official/acme.sh/archive/refs/tags/3.0.2.tar.gz | tar -xzf- --strip-components=1 --C=src/acme.sh

Next, create a wrapper script to hold some of the common settings we'll use. The SYNO_* variables are used by the synology_dsm deploy hook for connecting and updating certificates, so it needs the user's password to authenticate.

$ touch acme.sh
$ chmod +x acme.sh
$ vim acme.sh
#!/bin/bash

export SYNO_Certificate='acme'
export SYNO_Username="${USER}"
export SYNO_Password='replace-me' # TODO
export SYNO_Create='1'

exec ./src/acme.sh/acme.sh "$@"

If you're using a private ACME directory, you'll probably want to include a copy of your internally-trusted certificate(s). This file is referenced in later commands with the --ca-bundle flag.

$ vim ca.crt
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...snip...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----

Since we'll be relying on a web request to verify the certificate request, we also need to make sure the directory is configured. The web server configuration references it by default, but the directory may not already exist. Run the following with sudo (password will be required) to make sure it exists and the user can manage it.

$ sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/letsencrypt/.well-known/acme-challenge
$ sudo chown -R certupdater:http /var/lib/letsencrypt

Certificate Setup

Once our utilities and configuration are in place, we can request our initial certificate with the --issue command. Be sure to review and update the arguments for your server and domain before running the following:

$ ./acme.sh --issue \
  --webroot /var/lib/letsencrypt \
  --ca-bundle ca.crt \
  --server https://pki.internal.example.com/acme/directory \
  --domain nas.internal.example.com
Sample Output[Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Using CA: https://pki.internal.example.com/acme/directory [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Single domain='nas.internal.example.com' [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Getting domain auth token for each domain [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Getting webroot for domain='nas.internal.example.com' [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Verifying: nas.internal.example.com [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Success [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Verify finished, start to sign. [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Lets finalize the order. [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Le_OrderFinalize='https://pki.internal.example.com/acme/order/TFtQ3YFptbEGXMx4wtubzxetGLdpxjmb/finalize' [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Downloading cert. [Fri Apr 8 10:29:41 MDT 2022] Le_LinkCert='https://pki.internal.example.com/acme/certificate/D5XCEPWEUh321t4kIgU4CD75e1tLOdAW' [Fri Apr 8 10:29:42 MDT 2022] Cert success. -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----- ...snip... -----END CERTIFICATE----- [Fri Apr 8 10:29:42 MDT 2022] Your cert is in: /volume1/homes/certupdater/.acme.sh/nas.internal.example.com/nas.internal.example.com.cer [Fri Apr 8 10:29:42 MDT 2022] Your cert key is in: /volume1/homes/certupdater/.acme.sh/nas.internal.example.com/nas.internal.example.com.key [Fri Apr 8 10:29:42 MDT 2022] The intermediate CA cert is in: /volume1/homes/certupdater/.acme.sh/nas.internal.example.com/ca.cer [Fri Apr 8 10:29:42 MDT 2022] And the full chain certs is there: /volume1/homes/certupdater/.acme.sh/nas.internal.example.com/fullchain.cer

After it completes, the certificate details and configuration are stored in the ~/.acme.sh directory, but we still need to configure it within DSM. Use the --deploy command along with the built-in hook for synology_dsm (which uses the SYNO_ environment variables from earlier).

$ ./acme.sh --deploy \
  --deploy-hook synology_dsm \
  --domain nas.internal.example.com
Sample Output[Fri Apr 8 10:31:04 MDT 2022] Logging into localhost:5000 [Fri Apr 8 10:31:04 MDT 2022] Getting certificates in Synology DSM [Fri Apr 8 10:31:04 MDT 2022] Generate form POST request [Fri Apr 8 10:31:04 MDT 2022] Upload certificate to the Synology DSM [Fri Apr 8 10:31:04 MDT 2022] http services were NOT restarted [Fri Apr 8 10:31:04 MDT 2022] Success

If this is the first time the acme certificate is created on the server, you'll need to review the Certificate settings from the Security control panel to make sure it becomes the default and is used by services.

Detailed Steps (DSM 7)
  1. Log in to Synology DSM as an administrator.

  2. Open the Control Panel application.

  3. Go to the Security component.

  4. Go to the Certificate tab.

  5. Select the acme certificate that was just created.

    1. Activate Set as default certificate.
    2. Click the OK button.
  6. Click the Settings button.

    1. For all existing services, change Certificate to be the new acme certificate.
    2. Click the OK button. It may take a few moments to apply and reconnect to DSM.

Finally, if you reload your browser's connection to DSM you should see it using your new certificate. At this point we're done with the shell, so don't forget to close the connection.

$ exit

Certificate Renewal

ACME certificates are typicaly shorter-lived, so we want to make sure the renewal and update process is automated. Although acme.sh has an --install command to configure cron, it feels more appropriate to use DSM's Task Scheduler to configure a task which runs ./acme.sh --cron daily as the certupdater user.

Detailed Steps (DSM 7)
  1. Log in to Synology DSM as an administrator.

  2. Open the Control Panel application.

  3. Go to the Task Scheduler component.

  4. Click Create, choose Scheduled Task, and choose User-defined script.

  5. From the General tab...

    1. For Task, enter acme.sh --cron.
    2. For User, choose certupdater.
  6. From the Schedule tab...

    1. For Run on the following days, choose Daily.
    2. For Time, choose an off-peak time to run every day, such as 04:55.
  7. From the Task Settings tab...

    1. For User-defined script, enter /bin/bash -c './acme.sh --cron 2>&1 >> task.log'. This uses bash and task.log to keep the log output in the user's home directory.
    2. Optionally, configure Send run details by email.
  8. Click the OK button.

Once configured, it should automatically renew the certificates when it's approaching the expiration. You can test the behavior by temporarily editing the task to add the --force option to the acme.sh call, and then use the Run button from the task list. Any success and error messages should be reported in the log output.

Troubleshooting

libcurl error 60

Please refer to https://curl.haxx.se/libcurl/c/libcurl-errors.html for error code: 60
Can not init api for: https://pki.internal.example.com/acme/directory.

Review your ca-bundle flag and file to make sure it has the certificate being used by your ACME directory. Learn more about the error here, and try debugging the connection with curl directly:

$ curl -v https://pki.internal.example.com/acme/directory --cacert ca.crt

Can not write token to file

Can not write token to file : /var/lib/letsencrypt/.well-known/acme-challenge/7NckvfDW0gO98NgeOXcChpSBqBb7bLFE

Make sure the /var/lib/letsencrypt directory exists and has the correct permissions. Alternatively, recreate it with the steps earlier in the guide.

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