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Avtandil Ivanov
Avtandil Ivanov

Cipherscan: A Versatile and Reliable SSL/TLS Cipher Tester for Windows


- How Cipherscan works and what it tests - Use cases and scenarios for Cipherscan H2: How to Download and Install Cipherscan on Windows - Prerequisites and requirements - Downloading Cipherscan from GitHub - Installing OpenSSL for Windows - Running Cipherscan from command line H2: How to Use Cipherscan to Test SSL/TLS Configuration - Basic usage and syntax of Cipherscan - Examples of testing different targets and protocols - Understanding and interpreting the output of Cipherscan - Tips and best practices for using Cipherscan H2: How to Compare Cipherscan with Other SSL/TLS Scanning Tools - Overview of some popular alternatives to Cipherscan - Pros and cons of each tool - How to choose the best tool for your needs H1: Conclusion - Summary of the main points of the article - Call to action and further resources Article: What is Cipherscan and Why You Need It




If you are a web developer, a system administrator, a security professional, or a curious user, you may have wondered how secure your website or server is when it comes to SSL/TLS encryption. SSL/TLS is the protocol that enables secure communication over the internet, protecting your data from eavesdropping, tampering, and impersonation. However, not all SSL/TLS configurations are created equal. Some are more secure than others, depending on the supported protocols, ciphers, certificates, and options.




cipherscan windows download


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This is where Cipherscan comes in handy. Cipherscan is a simple and powerful tool that tests the ordering and support of SSL/TLS ciphers on a given target, for all major versions of SSL and TLS. It also extracts some certificate information, TLS options, OCSP stapling, and more. Cipherscan is a wrapper around the openssl s_client command line utility, which means it uses the OpenSSL library to perform the tests.


Cipherscan can help you with several tasks, such as:



  • Checking if your website or server supports the latest and most secure versions of SSL/TLS, such as TLS 1.3



  • Checking if your website or server supports strong and modern ciphers, such as AES-GCM or ChaCha20-Poly1305



  • Checking if your website or server has a valid and trusted certificate, with proper signature algorithm and key size



  • Checking if your website or server has any weak or insecure configurations, such as RC4 cipher, SSLv3 protocol, or SHA-1 certificate



  • Checking if your website or server has any extra features or options that enhance security, such as TLS ticket lifetime hint or OCSP stapling



Cipherscan can also help you compare your website or server with other targets, such as competitors or industry standards, to see how you stack up against them. You can also use Cipherscan to test other services that use SSL/TLS encryption, such as SMTP, IMAP, POP3, FTPS, XMPP, etc.


How to Download and Install Cipherscan on Windows




Cipherscan is meant to run on all flavors of Unix, such as Linux or MacOS. However, you can also run it on Windows with some extra steps. Here is how to download and install Cipherscan on Windows:


Prerequisites and requirements




To run Cipherscan on Windows, you will need:


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  • A Windows machine with administrator privileges



  • A command line tool, such as Command Prompt or PowerShell



  • A Git client, such as Git for Windows



  • An OpenSSL binary for Windows



Downloading Cipherscan from GitHub




The first step is to download the latest version of Cipherscan from its GitHub repository. You can do this by using the Git client or by downloading the ZIP file directly from the website.


To use the Git client, open your command line tool and navigate to the folder where you want to save Cipherscan. Then run the following command:


git clone https://github.com/mozilla/cipherscan.git


This will create a folder named cipherscan with all the files and folders of the project.


To download the ZIP file, go to the GitHub website and click on the green Code button. Then select Download ZIP and save the file to your desired location. Then extract the contents of the ZIP file to a folder named cipherscan.


Installing OpenSSL for Windows




The next step is to install OpenSSL for Windows, which is required by Cipherscan to perform the tests. You can download the latest version of OpenSSL for Windows from this website: https://slproweb.com/products/Win32OpenSSL.html


Choose the appropriate installer for your system, either 32-bit or 64-bit, and run it as administrator. Follow the instructions on the screen and accept the default options. Make sure to install OpenSSL in the same drive as Cipherscan, for example C:\OpenSSL-Win64.


After the installation is complete, you need to add OpenSSL to your system path, so that Cipherscan can find it. To do this, open your command line tool and run the following command:


setx path "%path%;C:\OpenSSL-Win64\bin"


Replace C:\OpenSSL-Win64\bin with the actual path where you installed OpenSSL. You may need to restart your command line tool for the changes to take effect.


Running Cipherscan from command line




Now you are ready to run Cipherscan from your command line tool. To do this, navigate to the folder where you saved Cipherscan, for example C:\cipherscan. Then run the following command:


python cipherscan.py


This will display the usage and options of Cipherscan. You can also run python cipherscan.py -h for more help.


How to Use Cipherscan to Test SSL/TLS Configuration




Cipherscan is very easy to use and has a simple syntax. The basic usage is:


python cipherscan.py [options] target[:port]


The target can be a hostname or an IP address of the website or server you want to test. The port is optional and defaults to 443 for HTTPS. You can also specify a protocol prefix, such as smtp, imap, pop3, ftps, xmpp, etc., to test other services that use SSL/TLS encryption.


The options are optional and allow you to customize the behavior and output of Cipherscan. Some of the most useful options are:



  • -o filename: Save the output to a file instead of printing it on the screen



  • -j filename: Save the output in JSON format instead of plain text



  • -v: Increase verbosity level (can be used multiple times)



  • -b: Show local cipher preference order instead of remote cipher preference order



  • -s: Show only supported ciphers instead of all possible ciphers



  • -a: Show all results, including errors and warnings



  • -u: Check for updates and upgrade Cipherscan if needed



You can also use -h or --help to see all the available options and their descriptions.


Examples of testing different targets and protocols




Here are some examples of how to use Cipherscan to test different targets and protocols:


# Test google.com with default options python cipherscan.py google.com # Test gmail.com with SMTP protocol on port 25 python cipherscan.py smtp:gmail.com:25 # Test yahoo.com with IMAP protocol on port 993 python cipherscan.py imap:yahoo.com:993 # Test facebook.com with XMPP protocol on port 5222 python cipherscan.py xmpp:facebook.com:5222 # Test ftp.mozilla.org with FTPS protocol on port 990 python cipherscan.py ftps:ftp.mozilla.org:990 # Test your own website or server with HTTPS protocol on port 443 python cipherscan.py https://yourwebsite.com:443


Understanding and interpreting the output of Cipherscan




The output of Cipherscan consists of several sections, each providing different information about the target's SSL/TLS configuration. Here is an example of the output of Cipherscan when testing google.com:


Target: google.com:443 prio ciphersuite protocols pfs curves 1 ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 ECDH,P-256,256bits prime256v such as ECDH or DHE. The elliptic curves are the mathematical curves used for ECDH key exchange, such as prime256v1 or secp384r1.


The second section shows some information about the certificate of the target, such as whether it is trusted by the system, the key size, and the signature algorithm. The certificate is a digital document that proves the identity and ownership of the target, and is issued by a trusted authority called a certificate authority (CA). The key size indicates the length of the public key used for encryption and decryption, with larger sizes being more secure. The signature algorithm indicates the algorithm used to sign and verify the certificate, with newer algorithms being more secure.


The third section shows some information about the TLS ticket lifetime hint, which is an option that allows the target to suggest how long the client should keep a session ticket for faster resumption of encrypted communication. The value is in seconds, and a longer value means less overhead for establishing new sessions.


The fourth section shows some information about the OCSP stapling, which is an option that allows the target to provide a proof of validity of its certificate along with the certificate itself, reducing the need for the client to contact the CA for verification. This improves performance and security of the SSL/TLS handshake.


The fifth section shows whether the target uses server side cipher ordering or not, which means whether the target chooses the cipher to use based on its own preference or on the client's preference. Server side cipher ordering is generally recommended, as it allows the target to enforce stronger ciphers and avoid weaker ones.


How to Compare Cipherscan with Other SSL/TLS Scanning Tools




Cipherscan is not the only tool that can test and analyze SSL/TLS configurations. There are many other tools available, both online and offline, that offer similar or different features and functionalities. Some of the most popular alternatives to Cipherscan are:



  • SSL Labs: An online service that provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of SSL/TLS configuration of any website or server, with a rating system and recommendations for improvement. It also provides various tools and resources for SSL/TLS best practices and research. You can access it at https://www.ssllabs.com/



  • TestSSL: An offline tool that can test any SSL/TLS service on any port for various vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, such as heartbleed, poodle, logjam, etc. It also supports various protocols, ciphers, certificates, and options. You can download it at https://testssl.sh/



  • Nmap: An offline tool that can scan any network or host for various information and services, including SSL/TLS configuration. It has a script called ssl-enum-ciphers that can enumerate supported ciphers and protocols of a target, as well as other scripts for testing specific vulnerabilities or features. You can download it at https://nmap.org/



Each tool has its own pros and cons, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best tool for your situation:


Pros and cons of each tool





Tool


Pros


Cons


Cipherscan


- Simple and easy to use - Fast and lightweight - Flexible and customizable - Supports various protocols and services - Works offline


- Requires OpenSSL installation - Does not test for vulnerabilities - Does not provide ratings or recommendations - Does not support TLS 1.3 yet


SSL Labs


- Comprehensive and detailed analysis - Provides ratings and recommendations - Tests for vulnerabilities and features - Supports TLS 1.3 - Provides tools and resources


- Requires internet access - Slow and heavy - Limited to HTTPS protocol - May expose sensitive information


TestSSL


- Tests for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations - Supports various protocols and services - Works offline - Provides ratings and recommendations - Supports TLS 1.3


- Complex and hard to use - Requires OpenSSL installation - May produce false positives or negatives - May not support some ciphers or options


Nmap


- Scans for various information and services - Supports various protocols and services - Works offline - Flexible and customizable - Tests for vulnerabilities and features- Requires Nmap installation - Does not provide ratings or recommendations - May not support some ciphers or options - May trigger security alerts or firewalls


How to choose the best tool for your needs




The best tool for your needs depends on several factors, such as:



  • Your goal: What are you trying to achieve with the tool? Do you want to check the security of your own website or server, or do you want to compare it with others? Do you want to test for vulnerabilities or features, or do you want to see the supported ciphers and protocols?



  • Your preference: How do you like to use the tool? Do you prefer a simple and easy tool, or a complex and powerful one? Do you prefer an online or offline tool? Do you prefer a plain text or a graphical output?



  • Your situation: What are the constraints and limitations of your situation? Do you have internet access or not? Do you have administrator privileges or not? Do you have OpenSSL or Nmap installed or not? Do you have any security policies or restrictions?



Based on these factors, you can choose the best tool for your needs. Here are some general guidelines:



  • If you want a simple and easy tool that works offline and supports various protocols and services, use Cipherscan.



  • If you want a comprehensive and detailed analysis that provides ratings and recommendations and tests for vulnerabilities and features, use SSL Labs.



  • If you want a tool that tests for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations and supports various protocols and services, use TestSSL.



  • If you want a tool that scans for various information and services and tests for vulnerabilities and features, use Nmap.



Conclusion




In this article, we have learned what Cipherscan is and why we need it. We have also learned how to download and install Cipherscan on Windows, how to use Cipherscan to test SSL/TLS configuration, and how to compare Cipherscan with other SSL/TLS scanning tools. We hope that this article has helped you understand and appreciate the importance of SSL/TLS encryption and how to test and improve it with Cipherscan.


If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you. Also, if you liked this article, please share it with your friends and colleagues who might find it useful. Thank you for reading!


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Cipherscan:



What is the difference between Cipherscan and CipherScan?


  • Cipherscan is the name of the tool that we have discussed in this article. CipherScan is another tool that has a similar name but a different purpose. CipherScan is an online service that scans a target for supported ciphers and protocols, but does not provide any analysis or ratings. You can access it at https://cipherscan.io/



How can I update Cipherscan to the latest version?


  • You can update Cipherscan to the latest version by using the -u option when running it. For example: python cipherscan.py -u. This will check for updates and upgrade Cipherscan if needed.



How can I test TLS 1.3 with Cipherscan?


  • You can test TLS 1.3 with Cipherscan by using a version of OpenSSL that supports TLS 1.3, such as OpenSSL 1.1.1 or later. You can download the latest version of OpenSSL for Windows from https://slproweb.com/products/Win32OpenSSL.html. Then, you need to specify the protocol prefix tls13 when testing a target. For example: python cipherscan.py tls13:google.com.



How can I test multiple targets at once with Cipherscan?


  • You can test multiple targets at once with Cipherscan by using a file that contains a list of targets, one per line. Then, you need to use the -f option when running Cipherscan and specify the name of the file. For example: python cipherscan.py -f targets.txt.



How can I troubleshoot errors or problems with Cipherscan?


  • You can troubleshoot errors or problems with Cipherscan by using the -v option to increase verbosity level, which will show more details about what Cipherscan is doing and where it fails. You can also use the -a option to show all results, including errors and warnings. You can also check the Cipherscan GitHub page for more information and support at https://github.com/mozilla/cipherscan.





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