Browse safer by disabling SSLv3 in Firefox

vulnerable poodle sslv3

You may be at risk! A man-in-the-middle attack may be effective between you and any site that runs on HTTPS. This is explained two days ago by Google in their publication about the POODLE attack. It explains that SSLv3 has a vulnerability and negotiation of this protocol can be enforced by a man-in-the-middle. That man-in-the-middle is able to read (part of) the plaintext of your secure communication with the server. You can click the above image (that links to https://www.poodletest.com/) and if you are vulnerable you will see a poodle.

Fixing the vulnerability is also very easy. If you run a server you may want to check out my post on fixing the POODLE issue in Nginx and Apache. Even transfers from browsers that are not fixed can then no longer be intercepted  and decoded by a man-in-the-middle.

firefox poodle fix

But you should also fix this issue in your browser right now! In Firefox you simply type “about:config” in the address bar and then “tls” in the search bar. Change the value of “security.tls.version.min” from “0” to “1” as the above screenshot illustrates:

Mozilla says that it is making Firefox 34 safe from POODLE by disabling SSLv3 by default. – betanews.com

This change is so easy (only costs a few seconds and requires a browser restart) that I would not wait for Mozilla to release Firefox 34. If you run another browser, and you are looking for a guide, you may want to check out tomsguide.com.

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Fix Ubuntu SSLv3 POODLE issue in Nginx and Apache

Are you running an HTTPS website on Ubuntu (or any other Linux) with Nginx or Apache? You may be at risk! A man-in-the-middle attack may be effective. This is explained yesterday by Google in their publication about the POODLE attack. POODLE is an acronym for “Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption”. The attack uses a fall-back to the 18 year old “SSLv3” protocol. The security researchers propose that the easiest “fix” is to disable this legacy SSL variant. Fortunately only a small part of your visitors will be impacted:

All modern browsers and API clients will support TLSv1 and later. Disabling SSLv3 will inconvenience WindowsXP users who browse using Internet Explorer 6 – nginx blog

The attack is registered as CVE-2014-3566. Now let’s quickly look at the commands we need to execute:

Disable SSLv3 on Apache

1) We need to edit the file that holds the Apache SSL configuration:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/ssl.conf

2) Find the following line:

SSLProtocol all -SSLv2

3) Add the option “-SSLv3” so that the line will look like this:

SSLProtocol all -SSLv2 -SSLv3

4) Now restart Apache to make the change effective:

sudo service apache2 restart

Disable SSLv3 on Nginx

1) We need to search in all virtualhost configuration files for the use of the “ssl_protocols” directive:

maurits@nuc:~$ grep -R ssl_protocols /etc/nginx/sites-*
/etc/nginx/sites-available/default:    ssl_protocols SSLv3 TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;

2) We need to edit each file that holds the “ssl_protocols” directive:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

3) Find the following line:

ssl_protocols SSLv3 TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;

4) Remove the option “SSLv3” so that the line will look like this:

ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;

5) Now restart Nginx to make the change effective:

sudo service nginx reload

Bonus: Disable SSLv3 on HAProxy

1) Edit the “/etc/haproxy.cfg" file and find your “bind" line. Append “no-sslv3". For example:

bind :443 ssl crt <crt> ciphers <ciphers> no-sslv3

2) Now restart HAProxy to make the change effective:

sudo service haproxy reload

IMAP/POP3/SMTP

You should disable SSLv3 on all applications you run, so also on your IMAP/POP3/SMTP daemons. Think about Courier-imap, Dovecot, Sendmail and Postfix. For more information read this post on AskUbuntu.

Testing your server

A server that does not support SSLv3 will give the following output when trying to force a SSLv3 connection:

maurits@nuc:~$ openssl s_client -connect www.nginx.com:443 -ssl3 < /dev/null 2>&1 | grep New
New, (NONE), Cipher is (NONE)

A server that is still supporting SSLv3 (and may thus be vulnerable) will give the following output:

maurits@nuc:~$ openssl s_client -connect www.google.com:443 -ssl3 < /dev/null 2>&1 | grep New
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is ECDHE-RSA-RC4-SHA

NB: You can also test other services with this command, but then you need to change 443 to the appropriate port number.

 

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