So recently I changed my mail server over to postfix, this not that long after I ranted about e-mail security with plusnet. It turns out this has led to an interesting problem. So SSL settings were set pretty strictly on the smtps port, so only strong TLSv1.2 ciphers were available. On the smtp port I was a little more permissive, as long as it was TLSv1.2 it would accept even very weak ciphers (well a weak cipher is better than no cipher at all, and I was accepting mail that didn't use the starttls command) and everything was good. Accept that it turns out emails coming from Plusnet's mail servers was failing, they would connect, try to starttls, not like any of the ciphers and fail, breaking the connection. Once they tried again they didn't remember that starttls didn't work so they tried again. Until the mail timed out, and was bounced. So I've had to make the setting even more permissive, as getting emails from people I know on plusnet (like my Father for example) is sort of important.
So the government have passed the Investigatory Powers Act, which is pretty terrible, but it turns out it is worse than I realised! So perhaps it is not a good time to work in IT in the UK?
So, about a year ago I renewed my SSL certificates, and I was using StartSSL as my certificate provider, because they were free, if a little awkward to use. One of the limitations they placed on the free certs is that they could only be valid for a year. At the time I was interested to see what would become of Let's Encrypt as it promised not only free certificates, but a much easier way to get, and manage those certificates. They went live in April this year. I have been considering setting up my cert through Let's Encrypt, and renewing my SSL certificate was the perfect opportunity to do so, however, I have not got myself into a possition to fully automate the renewal of all the places I use my SSL certificate, so while it is still a manual process, and I got the reminder from StartSSL I figured why not give them another go.
So, we have another bill in Parliament to allow the government to spy on us. This one tries to ban end to end encryption, so that should the police or security services need to access your private communications they can do so with out you, or the person you are communicating with knowing about it. Aside from this defeating the point of encryption, it's a lovely side step around the criticism that the government wants to ban strong encryption, the encryption can be as strong as you like as long as it has a hole in the middle where the government can read it. Now as a technical person this riles me, but I am not an encryption expert, so rather than rant about something other people can tell you about far better than I, I'm going to wander off on a different tack.
So, some time ago I had to admit that I needed TLSv1, well time marches on, and I started to look at SSL settings again (largely because my SSL certificate expired, and I needed to replace it, so why not review the SSL settings).
So following my work on fixing CVE-2014-4566 on my website, it turned out that I do indeed need to use lower versions of TLS than 1.2 a revelation that is a little embarrassing to admit. So I have been doing a little playing with the settings, and have tweaked the cipher suite to support TLSv1 TLSv1.1 and TLSv1.2 and only ciphers with forward secrecy.
So another day, another web security vulnerability. Once again a problem on the internet has prompted me to fix something on my home server, in this case the SSLv3 vulnerabilty that has been given the name "POODLE" (seriously who comes up with these names) and it has reminded me that the SSL settings on my server are woefully inadequate.
Given my site is just a personal site I figure there is no real reason to stay with SSLv3 as I don't much care about IE6 users. In fact, the stuff I use it for supports TLSv1.2 so I may as well stick to that, and the older protocols be damned. This does break a large number of older, and mobile clients. But that is their problem.
It's also a good time to play with different cipher suite orders. So I've removed all but those that support forward secrecy (again, this will break stuff, but not the stuff I use so I don't much care).
Obviously the choices I have made here are made in the absence of any pragmatic need to support legacy systems, but that is the beauty of having a personal site rather than a commercial one.