Blog: TLS

Due to a recent audit finding, one of our customers requested that only TLS 1.2 be allowed and the cipher security level set to “high” (AES256-SHA256 DHE-RSA-ASE256-SHA256) on their Cisco ASA firewall. The AES256-SHA256 security ciphers are not proposed by Java 8 natively. In order to add the security ciphers, you must perform the steps below.

Directions to setup Java Cryptography Encryption (JCE) Unlimited Strength Jurisdiction Policy:


  • On your PC, browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.XXX\lib\security
  • Rename files
    • Rename local_policy.jar to local_policy.jar.OLD
    • Rename US_export_policy.jar to US_export_policy.jar.OLD
  • Go to for the following files:
    • Copy local_policy.jar to C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.XXX\lib\security
    • Copy US_export_policy.jar from to C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.XXX\lib\securit
  • Launch ASDM again and the ASA will negotiate to the DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256 security cipher



Windows 2008 and IIS 7.0 installs with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) version 2 and “weak” cryptography ciphers turned on by default.  Having that turned on will likely turn up some problems in a penetration test.  Here are some common vulnerabilities names that might be identified in your penetration test results:

  • SSL Server Supports Weak Encryption
  • SSL Server Allows Cleartext Encryption
  • SSL Server May Be Forced to Use Weak Encryption
  • SSL Server Allows Anonymous Authentication [more]


Unfortunately, there is not currently an intuitive way to enable/disable the protocols and ciphers built into the Windows GUI.  You must edit your systems registry to get the job done.  Some of the registry keys and DWORDs will likely not be in the registry, so you will need to add them. It’s always a good idea to back up your registry before making changes just in case something goes wrong.  Click Start, click Run, Type regedit32 or type regedit, click OK, and then add/modify the keys listed below.

Here are the registry keys to turn off PCT 1.0 and SSL 2.0 and leave SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 turned on:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\PCT 1.0\Server
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\SSL 2.0\Server
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\SSL 3.0\Server
    • DWORD = 1
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Protocols\TLS 1.0\Server
    • DWORD = 1

Here are the keys to turn off “weak” SSL ciphers:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\DES 56/56
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\NULL
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\RC2 40/128
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\RC2 56/128
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\RC4 40/128
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\RC4 56/128
    • DWORD = 0
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\Ciphers\RC4 64/128
    • DWORD = 0


The easiest way I’ve found to verify the protocols and ciphers are turned off is to use the free OpenSSL toolkit.  Here are some instructions for installing Cygwin with OpenSSL on Windows 7:  Here are some instructions for installing OpenSSL on Ubuntu: OpenSSL Usage.  If you are using a Mac OpenSSL should already be installed.  Once you get it installed you can verify your registry changes worked.

Once you get it installed here is the commands you can use to verify that SSLv2 is turned off:

# openssl s_client –ssl2 –connect YOURSERVERNAME:443

If server does not support SSLv2 then you should see an error like the following two examples:



1324:error:1407F0E5:SSL routines:SSL2_WRITE:ssl handshake failure:s2_pkt.c:428:

Here is the command to test for weak ciphers:

# openssl s_client -connect SERVERNAME:443 -cipher LOW:EXP

If the server does not support weak ciphers then an error will be displayed similar to the error examples given above.


When changing some settings in Internet Explorer recently, I stumbled across the “Use SSL 3.0” and “Use TLS 1.2” settings under the Advanced tab of Internet Options.  For a long time, I have been running without SSL 2.0, TLS 1.0, and TLS 1.1 enabled, but I wondered if SSL 3.0 is even necessary anymore (TLS superseded SSL 3.0 in 1999).  So I unchecked the “Use SSL 3.0” check box.  I did the same in my Firefox settings.  I ran that way for at least a couple of weeks without any noticeable issues.  Then last week I was onsite at a bank and tried to use the Cisco AnyConnect SSL VPN.  It did not connect, so I tried it that night from the hotel.  It still did not connect.  The Cisco IPSEC VPN client worked perfectly.  After a couple of days of the AnyConnect client not working, I was about to send an email to one of our network engineers asking if anything had changed when I remembered the “Use SSL 3.0” setting.  After re-enabling SSL 3.0 in both IE and Firefox, the AnyConnect client worked.  Aside from the SSL 3.0 setting breaking AnyConnect, the more general GOTCHA is that the AnyConnect client uses at least some of the web browser settings when establishing its connection, so I now know to include them when troubleshooting the VPN.