Disabling TLS 1.0 to Improve Transport Layer Security

Photon OS includes GnuTLS to help secure the transport layer. GnuTLS is a library that implements the SSL and TLS protocols to secure communications.

On Photon OS, SSL 3.0, which contains a known vulnerability, is disabled by default.

However, TLS 1.0, which also contains known vulnerabilities, is enabled by default.

To turn off TLS 1.0, perform the following steps:

  1. Create a directory named /etc/gnutls.
  2. In /etc/gnutls create a file named default-priorities.
  3. In the default-priorities file, specify GnuTLS priority strings that remove TLS 1.0 and SSL 3.0 but retain TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2.
  4. After adding a new default-priorities file or after modifying it, you must restart all applications, including SSH, with an open TLS session for the changes to take effect.

The following is an example of a default-priorities file that contains GnuTLS priorities to disable TLS 1.0 and SSL 3.0:

cat /etc/gnutls/default-priorities

In this example, the priority string imposes system-specific policies. The NONE keyword means that no algorithms, protocols, or compression methods are enabled, so that you can enable specific versions individually later in the string. The priority string then specifies that SSL version 3.0 and TLS version 1.0 be removed, as marked by the exclamation point. The priority string then enables, as marked by the plus sign, versions 1.1 and 1.2 of TLS. The cypher is AES-128-CBC. The key exchange is RSA. The MAC is SHA1. And the compression algorithm is COMP-NULL.

On Photon OS, you can verify the system-specific policies in the default-priorities file as follows:

  1. Concatenate the default-priorities file to check its contents:

root@photon-rc [ ~ ]# cat /etc/gnutls/default-priorities SYSTEM=NONE:!VERS-SSL3.0:!VERS-TLS1.0:+VERS-TLS1.1:+VERS-TLS1.2:+AES-128-CBC:+RSA:+SHA1:+COMP-NULL

1. Run the following command to check the protocols that are enabled for the system: 	

    root@photon-rc [ /etc/gnutls ]# gnutls-cli --priority @SYSTEM -l
	Cipher suites for @SYSTEM
	TLS_RSA_AES_128_CBC_SHA1                                0x00, 0x2f      SSL3.0

	Certificate types: none
	Protocols: VERS-TLS1.1, VERS-TLS1.2
	Compression: COMP-NULL
	Elliptic curves: none
	PK-signatures: none

For information about the GnuTLS priority strings, see https://gnutls.org/manual/html_node/Priority-Strings.html.

For information about the vulnerability in SSL 3.0, see SSL 3.0 Protocol Vulnerability and POODLE Attack.

For information about the vulnerabilities in TLS 1.0, see Guidelines for the Selection, Configuration, and Use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) Implementations.

Last modified March 19, 2021: typo fixes (70b473317)