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Understanding Junos OS in FIPS Mode of Operation

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-3 defines security levels for hardware and software that perform cryptographic functions. Junos-FIPS is a version of the Junos operating system (Junos OS) that complies with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-3.

Operating SRX Series Firewalls in a FIPS 140-3 Level 2 environment requires enabling and configuring FIPS mode of operation on the device from the Junos OS command-line interface (CLI).

The Security Administrator enables FIPS mode of operation in Junos OS Release 22.2R1 and sets up keys and passwords for the system and other FIPS users who can view the configuration. Both user types can also perform normal configuration tasks on the device (such as modify interface types) as individual user configuration allows.

Best Practice:

Be sure to verify the secure delivery of your device and apply tamper-evident seals to its vulnerable ports.

About the Cryptographic Boundary on Your Device

FIPS 140-3 compliance requires a defined cryptographic boundary around each cryptographic module on a device. Junos OS in FIPS mode of operation prevents the cryptographic module from running any software that is not part of the FIPS-certified distribution, and allows only FIPS-approved cryptographic algorithms to be used. No critical security parameters (CSPs), such as passwords and keys, can cross the cryptographic boundary of the module by, for example, being displayed on a console or written to an external log file.


Virtual Chassis features are not supported in FIPS mode of operation. Do not configure a Virtual Chassis in FIPS mode of operation.

To physically secure the cryptographic module, all Juniper Networks devices require a tamper-evident seal on the USB and mini-USB ports.

How FIPS Mode of Operation Differs from Non-FIPS Mode of Operation

Unlike Junos OS in non-FIPS mode of operation, Junos OS in FIPS mode of operation is a nonmodifiable operational environment. In addition, Junos OS in FIPS mode of operation differs in the following ways from Junos OS in non-FIPS mode of operation:

  • Self-tests of all cryptographic algorithms are performed at startup.

  • Self-tests of random number and key generation are performed continuously.

  • Weak cryptographic algorithms such as Data Encryption Standard (DES) and MD5 are disabled.

  • Weak, remote, or unencrypted management connections must not be configured. However, TOE allows local and un-encrypted console access across all modes of operation.

  • Passwords must be encrypted with strong one-way algorithms that do not permit decryption.

  • Junos-FIPS administrator passwords must be at least 10 characters long.

  • Cryptographic keys must be encrypted before transmission.

The FIPS 140-3 standard is available for download from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at

Validated Version of Junos OS in FIPS Mode of Operation

To determine whether a Junos OS release is NIST-validated, see the compliance page on the Juniper Networks Web site (