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Old 05-15-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
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Registered: May 2014
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difference in outputs when using TLS1

Hello All,

I am rookie when it comes to security protocols and I am learning this as part of my job responsibilities.

Recently our Application started implementing TLSv1.2 and here are some questions that I have from my observations.

1st the term ciphers, keys, certs are all very confusing to however I started to get some understanding of these as I am reading a lot of stuff.
Now, my application is running on "X" server and only accepts TLS1.X connections since the i use java 7 where ssl2Hello is disabled

now from Server "A" when I run cmd: openssl s_client -tls1 -host xxx -port yyyy
I get back a response in which I see a line
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA
the openssl version on server A is: 1.0

when I run the same command from another server "B" I get a response in which the line says:
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA
the openssl version on server B is: 0.9

My understanding of cipher was something that is enforced by the application server "X" and not by the client that is making the call. Is that a wrong understanding ?
And how can I find out what type of cipher is being enforced by the server "X" when someone makes a call to it.

Anyone who can help me understand why the difference how this entire stuff operates.
Help much appreciated.
Old 05-15-2015, 11:56 PM   #2
Registered: May 2007
Location: Newport, Maine, USA
Distribution: Debian 8.7
Posts: 72

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Read this document for a discussion of AES and DES encryption and why AES is superior.

Normally servers and clients negotiate the encryption protocol to use by sending a list of understood protocols to the other system. The server and client will use the highest protocol that they both understand. If one understands AES and DES but the other only understands DES then they will settle on DES encryption. The only way to force AES encryption is to change "server A" to reject DES or lower encryption standards. This will work, but then "server B" will not be able to establish a secure communication channel with "server A" until the encryption software on "server B" is updated.

I don't know how to disable encryption protocols below AES, perhaps someone else could help there. If "server B" is upgraded to use AES encryption but "server A" remains unchanged, then another server could possibly connect to "server A" with DES encryption. If DES is not secure enough for your communications between "A" and "B" then I would assume that it would be undesirable for any other machine to communicate to "A" at a protocol below AES.

If you get nothing else from my post, you have a good link to a document that explains AES and DES encryption and why DES is not a good choice for sensitive information.
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openssl, ssl, tls

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