Monthly Archives: October 2014

Testing for Cipher Suite Preference

It’s often important to know which SSL/TLS cipher suite is preferred by a server to alter the risk rating of a particular issue. For POODLE, if the server prefers RC4 ciphers over SSLv3 connections then it’s very unlikely that a connection will be vulnerable to POODLE. Similarly, if a server prefers block ciphers then reporting RC4 support should be appropriately adjusted. Occasionally tools conflict over which cipher suite is preferred so I thought I’d write up how to resolve this manaully in the spirit of the SSL/TLS manual cheatsheet. Continue reading


The POODLE attack announced very recently depends largely on a protocol downgrade attack (which I covered in my SSL/TLS presentation at BSides). I don’t think this aspect of TLS security was widely appreciated – but it is now! It’s a fair bet that any technical article about POODLE includes the phrase “TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV” as a remedy. This article discusses the mechanism proposed to protect us from attackers forcing TLS downgrades. NEW (16/10/14): while I was writing this I thought of a small but potential compatibility problem, which in fact could do us all a favour. I checked with the authors of the RFC and Adam Langley was kind enough to reply back so I’ve added added a new section below. Continue reading

Testing for TCP/IP Timestamps

It always used to be a stock joke in my old workplace that if you were having a tough time finding issues in a pentest then you could always rely on “TCP/IP timestamps”. Recently I did a re-test (based on another company’s report) that included this issue and found that it’s easy for this to be a false positive. I thought I’d write up this finding – as much for the journey I took through Nessus, Nmap, hping and Wireshark as for the result itself. Continue reading