Logging TLS session keys in LibreSSL

LibreSSL is a fork of OpenSSL that improves code quality and security. It was originally developed for OpenBSD, but has since been ported to several platforms (Linux, *BSD, HP-UX, Solaris, macOS, AIX, Windows) and is now the default TLS provider for some of them.

When debugging a program that uses LibreSSL, it can be useful to see decrypted network traffic. Wireshark can decrypt TLS if you provide the secret session key, however the session key is difficult to obtain. It is different from the private key used for functions like tls_config_set_keypair_file() , which merely secures the initial TLS handshake with asymmetric cryptography. The handshake establishes the session key between client and server using a method such as Diffie-Hellman (DH). The session key is then used for efficient symmetric cryptography for the remainder of the communication.

Web browsers, from their Netscape provenance, will log session keys to a file specified by the environment variable SSLKEYLOGFILE when present. Netscape packaged this behavior in its Network Security Services library.

OpenSSL and LibreSSL don’t implement that NSS behavior, although OpenSSL allows code to register a callback for when TLS key material is generated or received. The callback receives a string in the NSS Key Log Format .

In addition to refactoring OpenSSL code, LibreSSL offers a simplified TLS interface called libtls . The simplicity makes it more likely that applications will use it safely. However, I couldn’t find an easy way to log session keys for my libtls connection.

I found a somewhat hacky way to do it, and asked their development list whether there’s a better way. From the lack of response, I assume there isn’t yet. Posting the solution here in case it’s helpful for anyone else.

This module provides a tls_dump_keylog() function that appends to the file specified in SSLKEYLOGFILE .

#include <stdbool.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

#include <openssl/ssl.h>

/* A copy of the tls structure from libtls/tls_internal.h
 * This is a fragile hack! When the structure changes in libtls
 * then it will be Undefined Behavior to alias it with this.
 * See C99 section 6.5 (Expressions), paragraph 7
struct tls_internal {
	struct tls_config *config;
	struct tls_keypair *keypair;

	struct {
		char *msg;
		int num;
		int tls;
	} error;

	uint32_t flags;
	uint32_t state;

	char *servername;
	int socket;

	SSL *ssl_conn;
	SSL_CTX *ssl_ctx;

	struct tls_sni_ctx *sni_ctx;

	X509 *ssl_peer_cert;
	STACK_OF(X509) *ssl_peer_chain;

	struct tls_conninfo *conninfo;

	struct tls_ocsp *ocsp;

	tls_read_cb read_cb;
	tls_write_cb write_cb;
	void *cb_arg;

static void printhex(FILE *fp, const unsigned char* s, size_t len)
	while (len-- > 0)
		fprintf(fp, "%02x", *s++);

bool tls_dump_keylog(struct tls *tls)
	FILE *fp;
	unsigned int len_key, len_id;
	unsigned char key[256];
	const unsigned char *id;

	const char *path = getenv("SSLKEYLOGFILE");
	if (!path)
		return false;

	/* potentially nonstrict aliasing */
	sess = SSL_get_session(((struct tls_internal*)tls)->ssl_conn);
	if (!sess)
		fprintf(stderr, "Failed to get session for TLS\n");
		return false;
	len_key = SSL_SESSION_get_master_key(sess, key, sizeof key);
	id      = SSL_SESSION_get_id(sess, &len_id);

	if ((fp = fopen(path, "a")) == NULL)
		fprintf(stderr, "Unable to write keylog to '%s'\n", path);
		return false;
	fputs("RSA Session-ID:", fp);
	printhex(fp, id, len_id);
	fputs(" Master-Key:", fp);
	printhex(fp, key, len_key);
	fputs("\n", fp);
	return true;

To use the logfile in Wireshark, right click on a TLS packet, and select Protocol Preferences(Pre)-Master-Secret log filename .

(Pre)-Master-Secret log filename menu item

In the resulting dialog, add the filename to the logfile. Then you can view the decrypted traffic with FollowTLS Stream .

Follow TLS stream menu item