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Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System



Table Of Contents


FIPS Card Overview

Important Note


Shipping Contents

Procedure for Installing the FIPS Card

Procedure to Initialize the FIPS Card

Related Documentation


Published: October 7, 2009

This document ships with the Cisco Security MARS FIPS PCI Card, part number CS-MARS-FIPS-K9=, which can be installed only in the Cisco Security MARS 110R running software release 6.0.5.

FIPS Card Overview

The Cisco Security MARS FIPS PCI Card is also called the FIPS Card in this document.

With the FIPS Card installed and initialized, the CS-MARS is Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 Level-2 compliant. The FIPS Card itself is certified at FIPS 140-2 Level-3.

The FIPS Card is an 8-lane PCI-Express-based host bus adapter (HBA) that combines IPsec and SSL cryptographic acceleration with hardware security module (HSM) features. It implements most of the cryptographic functions used by SSL/TLS and SSH processing. All crytographic functions of CS-MARS SSH, SSL, TLS, and Java Security operations are offloaded to the FIPS Card.

When the FIPS PCI Card is installed and intialized in a CS-MARS-110R, the MARS model becomes a CS-MARS-110RF.

The Smart Card Reader and Smart Cards shipped with the FIPS PCI Card are used in the initialization procedure, but neither play a role in any subsequent MARS 110RF operations, except reinitializing FIPS.

All CS-MARS-110RF Local Controller operations are identical to CS-MARS-110R Local Controller operations, except for the sslcert CLI command. After generating a new security certificate for the CS-MARS-110RF with the ssllcert command, you must reboot.

Important Note

After enabling the FIPS on on a Windows XP system, the user interface on a CS-MARS-110R running csmars- becomes significantly slower. Enabling the Windows XP Local Security Policy: "System cryptography: Use FIPS compliant algorithms for encryption, hashing, and signing" causes the delay in managing CS-MARS with a FIPS Card.

You can opt to use Windows 7 or Vista to avoid this issue. Alternatively, you can disable the FIPS setting in Windows XP. (CS-MARS will still enforce the https connection to use FIPS compliant crypto suites.)


The following restrictions for the MARS 110RF are valid as of the date of this document:

Cannot interoperate with a CS-MARS Global Controller

Cannot interoperate with a Checkpoint® Firewall device

Shipping Contents

The following items are shipped with the CS-MARS-FIPS-K9= :


1 x mini-DIN to DB-9 adapter cable

1 x Smart Card Reader

6 x blank Smart Card (only 3 required for FIPS initialization)

1 x Quick Install Document

Figure 1 CS-MARS-110RF-K9 Hardware Contents




Smart Card Reader


Smart Cards


Mini-DIN to DB-9 adapter cable
(connects FIPS Card to Card Reader)

Figure 2 FIPS Card Panel Description


Status LED (blue)




Clear Switch—Not used with CS-MARS


Mode Switch

M—Maintenance mode (not supported)

O—Operational mode

I—Initialization mode


Smart Card Reader 8-pin mini-DIN connector
(An adapter cable connects the FIPS Card mini-DIN connector to the Card Reader DE-9 connector.)


Jumper Switches—both should be set to the OFF position

Procedure for Installing the FIPS Card

The FIPS PCI Card installation procedure can be summarized as follows:

1. Remove the chassis cover

2. Remove the Processor Air Duct

3. Remove the PCI Riser Assembly

4. Install the FIPS PCI Card

5. Replace the PCI Riser Assembly

6. Replace the Processor Air Duct

7. Replace the Server System Cover

8. Connect the Smart Card Reader to the FIPS Card with the adapter cable

Note A nonskid surface or a stop behind the MARS Appliance may be needed to prevent the MARS Appliance from sliding on your work surface.

Remove the Chassis Cover

Step 1 Observe all safety and Electro Static Discharge precautions.
Review the Regulatory Compliance and Safety Information for the Cisco Security MARS Appliances, 25R, 25, 55, 110R, 110, 210, GC2R, and GC2 available at the following URL:

Step 2 Turn off the appliance.

Step 3 Disconnect the AC power cords.

Step 4 Remove the Appliance cover as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Removing the MARS Appliance Cover

a. Remove the safety screw if it is installed.

b. Push in the blue button at the top of the cover.

c. With the button pushed in, slide the top cover back until it stops.

d. Insert your finger in the notch in the front of the cover then lift it upward to remove.

Remove the Processor Air Duct

Always operate your MARS Appliance with the processor air duct in place. The air duct is required for proper airflow within the system.

Step 5 Lift the processor air duct from its location over the two processor sockets, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Removing the Processor Air Duct

Remove the PCI Riser Assembly

Step 6 Remove the PCI Riser Assembly as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 Removing PCI Riser Assembly

a. Grasp both riser latches with thumb and forefinger and pull up to release riser assembly.

b. Lift the riser assembly straight up.

Install the CS-MARS FIPS Card

Step 7 Turn the PCI Riser Assembly upside-down so it rests on its flat top surface, install the FIPS PCI Card as shown in Figure 6.

The PCI Riser assembly has two sides, one side has three Full-height PCI Card slots, two of which are populated. The other side has two Low-profile PCI card slots. Both Low-profile PCI slots are empty.

Note Make sure that both the yellow jumper switches on the FIPS Card are set in the off position (they are slid toward the back of the card when off).

Warning Inspect the FIPS CARD for any cracks or breaks in the tamper-resistant epoxy coating. An intact coating is a security measure to prevent direct access to the electronic components on the FIPS Card. Periodically inspecting the tamper-resistant coating may be part of your security FIPS 140-2 Level-2 procedures.

Figure 6 Installing the FIPS Card in the PCI Riser Assembly

a. Open the front retention clip by pushing the blue slide upward and rotating clip to the fully open position.

b. Remove the middle filler panel.

c. Slide in the FIPS Card until it seats in the slot that is farthest from the edge connector.

Step 8 Close the retention clip.

Note Make sure that all empty PCI card slots have filler panels installed.

Replacing the PCI Riser Assembly

Step 9 Replace the PCI Riser Assembly, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 Replacing the PCI Riser Assembly

a. Lower the riser assembly into place.

b. Align the three hooks in the riser assembly with the matching slots at the back of the server system.

Step 10 Press down uniformly until the three hooks on the rear of the PCI riser assembly engage the MARS back panel slots. The riser cards seat into the matching sockets on the mother board.

Replace the Processor Air Duct

Step 11 Place the processor air duct over the processor sockets. The front edge of the air duct should contact the fan module. Use caution not to pinch or disengage cables that may be near or under the air duct.

Replace the Chassis Cover

Step 12 Place the cover over the MARS Appliance so that the side edges of the cover sit just inside the
MARS Appliance sidewalls.

Step 13 Slide the cover forward until it clicks into place.

Step 14 (Optional) Insert the safety screw at the center of the top cover.

Step 15 Connect the FIPS Card Reader to the FIPS Card with the Mini-DIN to DB-9 adapter cable.

Step 16 Reconnect the AC power cords.

Step 17 Go to Procedure to Initialize the FIPS Card.

Procedure to Initialize the FIPS Card

General considerations when initializing the FIPS Card are as follows:

The FIPS initialization procedure requires approximately 12 minutes including the reboot.

The FIPS initialization procedure can be terminated at any time with Ctrl+Delete.

If the FIPS initialization procedure is failing to write or overwrite a Smart Card, or is in an endless loop, terminate the procedure and begin again from the [pnadmin]$ prompt.

Step 1 Set the FIPS Card mode switch to "I" mode.

Step 2 Power up the MARS appliance.

Step 3 Login to to the MARS CLI and enter the show inventory command to verify that the FIPS Card is recognized by the operating system.

[pnadmin]$ show inventory
NAME: "Chassis",  DESCR: "CS-MARS-110 Local Controller"
PID: CS-MARS-110,       VID: V01,       SN: M1100000011

FIPS HSM: nCipher nShield 500e,          SN: 4F06-81E7-8838

Step 4 Enter the version command to verify that the MARS Appliance is running Release 6.0.5 or more recent.

[pnadmin]$ version
6.0.5 (3351) 34

Note If the version is not Release 6.0.5, you must upgrade the MARS Appliance per the Upgrade Matrix listed in the Release Notes for Cisco Security MARS Appliance 6.0.5, at the following URL:

Step 5 Enter the fips init command to begin intialization of FIPS Card. Enter Y when prompted to proceed.

[pnadmin]$ fips init
FIPS init will initialize the FIPS card and cause the system to reboot.
Do you want to proceed?

The MARS appliance prompts you to insert a Smart Card into the Card Reader

Insert/change card in module (or change module mode) 

Step 6 Insert a Smart Card into the Card Reader with the gold contacts facing upward. Enter a passphrase when prompted. Enter the passphrase confirmation when prompted. The Smart Card is processed in approximately 60 seconds.

Note If you are overwriting a Smart Card, an advisory alert appears.

You are prompted to enter another Smart Card.

Step 7 Repeat the previous step until three Smart Cards are written. You then receive a Smart Card writing complete message.

Card writing complete. 
security world generated on module #1; hknso = 7b40de6d7fcebec5cce73a750508d055b
Switch to "O" mode and press ENTER 

Step 8 Set the FIPS Card mode switch to "O" and press Enter. The initialization completes with the following message:

The FIPS Card is initialized. 
FIPS Card has been initialized successfully. Press Enter to reboot the machine. 

Step 9 Press Enter to reboot the MARS appliance.

Step 10 Login to the CLI, and verify the function of the FIPS card with the fips status CLI command. The Server and Module #1 mode value should both be "operational."

[pnadmin]$ fips status    
 enquiry reply flags  none
 enquiry reply level  Six
 serial number        4F06-81E7-8838
 mode                 operational
 version              2.36.16
<snip . . .)
Module #1:
 enquiry reply flags  none
 enquiry reply level  Six
 serial number        4F06-81E7-8838
 mode                 operational
 version              2.33.82
<snip . . .)

Note The server is the FIPS-supporting system software, the Module #1 is the FIPS Card.

Step 11 Enter the model command to verify that the MARS is now identified as a CS-MARS-110RF
(FIPS 140-2 Level-2 compliant MARS Appliance).

pnadmin]$ model                                                                

End of Procedure

Related Documentation

Cisco Security MARS Command Reference, 6.X

Regulatory Compliance and Safety Information for the Cisco Security MARS Appliances, 25R, 25, 55, 110R, 110, 210, GC2R, and GC2


This document is to be used in conjunction with the documents listed in the "Related Documentation" section.

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