Re: SSL questions

From: Paul Rubin (//phr.cx@NOSPAM.invalid)
Date: 02/26/03


From: Paul Rubin <http://phr.cx@NOSPAM.invalid>
Date: 25 Feb 2003 15:46:01 -0800

Basically all your guesses are correct:

1) TLS includes a standard for unauthenticated DH encryption.
However, most browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer) don't support this
option. So in practice, if you want people to be able to connect
to your server with ordinary browsers, you need to use RSA-RC4 which
means you need a (possibly self-signed) certificate).

2) Yes, even if you use a commercial CA, there's some prospect that an
attacker can subvert the CA somehow (some CA's don't do much
checking). The best thing to do (e.g. if you're securing an extranet)
is run your own CA and configure both ends of your extranet to
recognize that CA and ONLY that CA.

3) You might find you prefer mod_ssl (www.modssl.org) instead of
apache-ssl. It's easier to set up, makes certificates for you as
part of its ordinary install script, etc.

4) If you want a cheap commercial certificate, www.freessl.com charges
just $15/year for certs chained to the Baltimore root. These are
recognized by most current browsers, though Verisign/Thawte still has
better coverage with older browsers. I'm using a freessl.com certificate
on https://www.nightsong.com:8443 if you want to see one.