OpenVPN/IPsec - Sweet32: Birthday attacks

R. W. Rodolico rodo at
Sat Sep 10 08:49:01 CEST 2016

Hash: SHA1

- From what I understand, existing configurations will stay the same and
still be able to connect. The only effect this will have is to keep
people from creating new certs with the insecure ciphers. In that
case, I think they could be killed with no problem.

If you decide to do this, all we need to do is document it so we don't
get people asking "where is blowfish; I always use that!" Putting it
in the forum is cool, but I want to put it in the documentation
(, mainly in Again, I'm
not coding, so I am happy to document.

I was concerned you were talking about pulling the ciphers completely
out of OpenVPN, so the server would not be able to respond when an old
connection was made using one of the insecure ciphers. Pulling it from
the list of available ciphers for new connections should not be an
issue at all.

Happy to help whatever you need with the wiki. I'm on the
documentation at list. Is that the one you're talking
about? I use OpenVPN quite a bit, so just let me know what you want me
to do.


On 09/05/2016 03:30 AM, ummeegge wrote:
> Hi,
> Am 01.09.2016 um 21:29 schrieb R. W. Rodolico <rodo at 
> <mailto:rodo at>>:
>> Signierter PGP-Teil No matter which way you decide to go, we
>> need to document as soon as possible. Is there any way we could
>> modify release 104 to highlight insecure ciphers and insert a
>> link to an article? I volunteer to write
> the decision needs to made by the core developers, may also in 
> conjunction with an update of the OpenSSL library to version 1.1 
> cause as you could read in the OpenSSL announcement, if the 
> 'enable-weak-cipher" option won´t be set DES (and his variations) 
> won´t work anymore ? But i´am not sure about that may there are 
> other ways around. I wanted only to point this specific problem
> out and as far as i can see the half of the OpenVPN ciphers are 64
> bit block ciphers and are affected. Exception are Camellia, AES and
> the Seed ciphers. Have also made some smaller changes in the
> OpenVPN wiki (it definitely needs some updates/fixes) and i will
> make some more in the next days and it would be great if you go
> also for some extensions (may we can meet in the wiki mailinglist
> for coordination).
>> the article.
>> What I'm thinking is, in 104 (I'm assuming dropping the insecure
>>  ciphers would not happen until 105), whey they view the OpenVPN
>>  screen, if they are using an insecure cipher, the text would
>> show up in red or something. It seems a simple fix (but I've not 
>> looked at the code, so it may not be).
> Since Core 104 is currently in testing tree, this could be a
> chance and as you mentioned it is a simple text formatting patch
> but as i wrote it before, the core developers needs to decide
> that.
>> I disagree with "the sooner people throw old systems away" idea, 
>> as my basic philosophy is to use equipment until it won't boot. 
>> One of the advantages to FOSS. But, in this case, we're looking 
>> at the possibility of having to force outdated options in 
>> multiple packages which would be a fairly good sized effort.
> There are configuration possibilities between "throw old systems 
> away" or "disable this ciphers", but in would in anyways needs 
> knowledge and activities from the user side in that case.
>> Whatever happens, it needs to be documented, and I'd like to get 
>> it out there as soon as possible. And very visible even to users 
>> who don't read mailing lists or even visit the Planet.
> I did some announcements also in the IPFire forum, may i should
> pin it to the top...
>> I'm still not clear on one thing. If Blowfish (for example) is 
>> used in one of my connections and it was removed, I'm assuming 
>> that connection would no longer work. Correct? It sounds like we 
>> have the option of removing it from the list of available 
>> options, but also removing support completely from OpenVPN. Am I 
>> missing something.
> This connection will work further even if Blowfish has been
> deleted from the WUIs cipher list it will further appear in the
> server.conf and it is furthermore present in the OpenSSL library
> but the problem will be to change things in the WUI or even to add
> more clients cause by pressing the next time 'save' the
> configuration will be changed (if no other cipher will be set to 
> 'CAMELLIA-256-CBC' will be written to server.conf cause it is
> first in the list) and all other client configurations needs then
> to be adjusted accordingly.
>> Rod
>> P.S. Sorry about the misunderstanding. Blowfish is fixed at 64. 
>> It is only the key length that is variable. My bad.
> No problem good that we clear things like that.
>> Rod
>> On 08/31/2016 06:01 AM, ummeegge wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>>> You say "disable in the list." Would systems currently 
>>>> running these ciphers have to rebuild their certificates? Or 
>>>> would their system continue to run as is, but new 
>>>> configurations would only have the better options available.
>>> the systems would run further with these ciphers but it won´t 
>>> be possible to add new clients via WUI without changing the 
>>> cipher and regarding to OpenVPN this means to change all 
>>> configurations cause a OpenVPN instance have no variability 
>>> with ciphers per client.
>>>> If it would break any existing systems, I would prefer to not
>>>> disable it. If there was a way to change the tags in OpenVPN
>>>> to add a DANGER to the label, that would be sufficent. Maybe
>>>> even a link between Encyption: and the dropdown pointing to
>>>> the articles describing the issu e.
>>>> I never like to disallow someone from doing something, 
>>>> especially if it can cause their system to not work after an 
>>>> upgrade. I prefer to warn them, and let them make informed 
>>>> decisions.
>>> I think this is also a good idea but as far as i can see 
>>> OpenSSL for example will treat DES (triple-des) with version 
>>> 1.1  like RC4 (haven´t seen a similar note with e.g. Blowfish 
>>> ?) --> . 
>>> So it won´t be compiled by default but you need to activate 
>>> "enable-weak-ssl-ciphers in config options in the new OpenSSL 
>>> version. Whereby OpenSSLs new version might fill another 
>>> discussion round i think cause it seems pretty problematic 
>>> without patching a lot of other software which are linked 
>>> against OpenSSL (e.g. failed builds with OpenSSL-1.1 on Debian 
>>> --> 
>>> ),
>>> there seems also to be some strange changes in the API but this
>>> only as a beneath info…
>>>> In my release 104, I see 128 bit as the lowest option. This 
>>>> vulnerability specifically shows that for 64 bit blocks, the
>>>>  problem exists. To successfully attack a 64 bit block, you 
>>>> would only need to generate 32 gig of traffic; definitely 
>>>> reasonable. However, to successfully attack 128 bit blocks 
>>>> requires reading 256 Exobytes, which is unreasonable to
>>>> worry about at this time. I'm assuming I'm reading this
>>>> correctly and BF-CBS (128 bit) actually means it is using 128
>>>> bit blocks.
>>> I don´t think so, this problem addresses not the key lenght, it
>>> means the fixed-lenght group of bits in the 'block' for these
>>> ciphers e.g. --> 
>>> under 'Cipher 
>>> detail' .
>>>> Finally, OpenVPN 2.4 (still very much in alpha) will support
>>>>  cipher negotiation, where the client and server will 
>>>> dynamically negotiate which cipher to use. Within a short 
>>>> time of its release, the problem will no longer exist since 
>>>> both servers and clients will be able to do behind the
>>>> scenes negotiation.
>>> Yes, 2.4. brings some hope per default in that manner beneath 
>>> some other things (ECDH support, …) but who knows when they 
>>> will release it. Longer time ago i integrated the
>>> '--reneg-sec' directive into the WUI for testing purposes which
>>> is pretty similar to '--reneg-bytes' but i left it behind cause
>>> IPFire serves also the "Additional configuration" possibility
>>> so a individual way to adjust both configurations
>>> (client/server) is possible.
>>>> In this case, mainly Windows XP-systems are affected since 
>>>> 3DES was the only "safe" cipher suite they are able to use. 
>>>> Others (RC4, DES) went down the drain a long time ago.
>>>> With Sweet32, it became impossible to use such a system for 
>>>> _any_ secure connection, no matter if its HTTPS, VPN or 
>>>> something else.
>>> Not sure about this cause a lot of software ships their own 
>>> crypto libs and do not use the system crypto, for example
>>> while the OpenVPN development time for Core 79 we tested also
>>> Windows XP systems positive with the Camellia cipher (AES too
>>> but also SHA2-512 was ok) --> 
> .
>>>> Back to the VPN: It seems like there is a similar problem 
>>>> here, because the (at least in Germany) very popular 
>>>> Fritz!Box by AVM cannot handle IPSec VPNs with AES ciphers 
>>>> (source: 
>>> Indeed, this is a problem and there are for sure more other 
>>> problematic constellations out there…
>>>> In my humble opinion, removing the 3DES cipher is better. 
>>>> First because it improves the transport security situation, 
>>>> although it cannot be easily exploited. Second, the more
>>>> weak techniques and broken ciphers a legacy system supports
>>>> are disabled on the majority of the servers, the sooner
>>>> people throw the old systems away.
>>> I think this is not completely wide of the mark and it does 
>>> remind me a little on the RC4, MD5, SHA1 discussions. In fact 
>>> this problem is known since long time but anyways this ciphers 
>>> are nowadays nevertheless widely used…
>>> Another good overview causing this topic can be found also
>>> here --> .
>>> Some thoughts from here.
>>> Greetings,
>>> Erik
>> -- Rod Rodolico Daily Data, Inc. POB 140465 Dallas TX 75214-0465
>>  214.827.2170

- -- 
Rod Rodolico
Daily Data, Inc.
POB 140465
Dallas TX 75214-0465
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