SMB3 will debut in the upcoming version of Windows 8. This is a significant update from the last version (SMB2.1) and a host of new features are being introduced in this release. An important one among them is Encryption. If server and client negotiate SMB3 and the server is configured for encryption, all SMB packets are encrypted on the wire, except for NEGOTIATE, SESSION_SETUP and TREE_CONNECT (when only share level encryption is configured) requests and responses.
This raises quite a few questions; the details of configuration, the interaction with older versions clients of SMB, the granularity of configuration etc. The ultimate and official source of answers on this is the MS-SMB2 document. This document is currently in preview phase and is available at MS-SMB2-Preview. I will try to answer some of the questions posed above in a simplified manner in this blog.
Encryption is offered at two levels; global (session) and share. Global level encryption is for all the shares that are accessed under an encrypted session. On the other hand, it is possible to enable encryption at a share level and encryption will be enforced when the encrypted share is accessed, when the session in not encrypted.
To configure global level encryption, set the following parameter using Power Shell cmdlets that are specifically written for this new version of SMB.
Set-SmbServerConfiguration –EncryptData <0|1>
EncryptData makes sure that server advertises the encryption capability in the negotiate response. Also, when a session is setup, the value of Session.EncryptData is set to global EncryptData.
There is another parameter that has an effect on encryption. It is called RejectUnencryptedAccess. It is important to understand the implication of this parameter before changing its default value (TRUE). RejectUnencryptedAccess is modified by using the following Power Shell cmdlet:
Set-SmbServerConfiguration –RejectUnencryptedAccess <0|1>
The default value of EncryptData is FALSE. So, to enable encryption, it must be set to 1 by using the above power shell cmdlet. Once set to TRUE, if RejectUnencryptedAccess is not explicitly set to FALSE, the server will reject session setup with ACCESS_DENIED if the client does not support encryption.
SMB3 also supports share level encryption. In this mode, the SMB payload is encrypted only if an encrypted share is accessed. A share can be encrypted by using the following Power Shell cmdlet:
Set-SmbShare -Name <share name> -EncryptData 1
The following table exhaustively explains the effect of EncryptData and RejectUnencryptedAcces on a client that does not support encryption.
|EncryptData||RejectUnencryptedAccess||Client SMB version < 3|
|0||0||Client can setup a session and access encrypted shares|
|0||1||Client can setup a session and access unencrypted shares|
|1||0||Client can setup a session and access encrypted share|
|1||1||Client cannot setup a session|
I would like to draw your attention to gray rows in the table above. RejectUnencryptedAccess is set to TRUE by default. Before setting it to zero, a careful thought must be given to the implications. When set to 0, access to encrypted server and shares are allowed for client that do not support encryption. An SMB3 client will have access in all cases and will use encryption in the cases where EncryptData is TRUE.
As the table above describes, EncryptData controls encrypted access to a server. What if we want to allow access to unencrypted shares but block access to encrypted share for pre SMB3 clients? Share.EncryptData can be utilized to achieve that. Obviously, EncryptData must be set to FALSE since we allow access to server.
The following table describes the effect of Share.EncryptData on the allowed access to clients that do not support encryption (SMB version < 3):
|Share.EncryptData||RejectUnencryptedAccess||Client SMB version < 3|
|0||0||Client can access this share|
|0||1||Client can access this share|
|1||0||Client can access this share|
|1||1||Client cannot access this share|
So for an encrypted share, if RejectUnencryptedAccess is not explicitly set to FALSE, the server will reject tree connect command with ACCESS_DENIED for clients that do not support encryption.
I would like to draw your attention to gray row again. Even if a share is encrypted, if you set RejectUnencryptedAccess to FALSE, a client that does not support encryption can access the share. It is important that RejectUnencryptedAccess be left to its default value (TRUE) for thing to be kosher.