dnsimple SSL defaults to simple, not secure


When purchasing an SSL certificate at dnsimple I was amazed to discover that by default it’s dnsimple who generates the private key for you. The checkbox that says “I want to provide a custom CSR” is unchecked by default. Not checking it causes dnsimple to generate your private key and a CSR for you. Simple – yes. Secure – no.

Generating a private key for anyone but yourself is a big security no-no. This is common knowledge for people that are selling certificates. Still somehow it’s default at dnsimple.

Please stop doing these stupid things!

The sudo fraud

Dear systems engineers,

It really amazes me how people are fine with typing sudo all the time. A kitten is denied a new toy for another day when you do this!


Typing sudo locally all the time

Is it really simpler for you to type sudo all the time rather than having one terminal tab open with a root shell? Besides, some systems even ask for a password when you run a sudo command. Be honest with yourself, are you a masochist?

Using sudo on servers


Intro: each Amazon image comes with standard username for logging in. Never seen anyone changing that username.

Supposedly, the attacker would need to know the username in addition to your stolen private key. Right… and it’s not one of these: ubuntu, admin, ec2-user, centos … and looking at your ssh banner won’t give any clue as to which username is used:

SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_... Ubuntu..
SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_... Debian...

OK, Amazon Linux did some homework but who uses it anyway. Red Hat also doesn’t say what it is. Both use ec2-user… You could customize the username but did you? So much for knowing the username.

Or maybe you think the potential attacker would not be able to run  sudo -i ?

“It stops you from doing stupid things”

Really? Do you do a mental pause and re-read your command once again when you type sudo? I’ve seen this not happening. If you are like me and you manage the servers, a big portion of commands require root, so people are just typing sudo without thinking.

Better train yourself to make a mental pause before executing destructive commands.


We could launch an another space mission if we would use the time people wasted on typing sudo . If you manage a server, use root. It really saves time. Do you really enjoy redoing half of your commands after “oh.. I forgot sudo … again”?

Are you afraid to kill the server? If killing one server is such a great deal, your situation might really be special but chances are that you just don’t manage your servers right. Fix that instead of typing sudo again and again.

And guys… have fun with your servers!

Update 2016-07-09 05:58 UTC

Just to be clear: Please note it’s filed under the “Rant” category. The post has some valid points but don’t take it too seriously. Use your best judgment to decide which parts of the above apply to your situation.

Israeli Banks Web Security Mini Survey – 2016



I have used Qualsys HTTPS checker tool to survey Israeli banks and a few reference sites. Main points summarized in the table below.

I did no “hacking” nor “cracking” nor break-in attempts.

I am not a security specialist. I just have some basic understanding of security.

List of banks is from Banking in Israel article on Wikipedia.

Comparison points

  1. SSL3 – insecure, old protocol, should not be used since June 2015
  2. RC4 – unsupported by recent versions of major browsers since January 2016 because it’s considered to be an insecure protocol. Deprecation started in 2015.
  3. SHA256 certificate – as opposed to deprecated SHA1 certificate.
  4. TLS 1.2 – The recommended version of TLS, invented in 2008, plenty of time to implement, one would think… The most important in my opinion (and Qualsys’ too, according to ratings).
  5. The forward secrecy supporting protocols protects your current sessions, which are probably recorded by NSA and others, from being decrypted later, when the server is compromised. A site gets “yes” if there are some protocols one could use to connect to the site that support the forward secrecy feature.
  6. Qualsys overall rating

Note that presence of SSL3 or RC4 is not a problem for up-to-date browsers as they just will not use it. It enables insecure connections for older browsers (in some cases the alternative would be no connection at all).


Web Site SSL3 (bad) RC4 (bad) SHA256 certificate TLS 1.2 Forward secrecy
Qualsys rating
Hapoalim (login.bankhapoalim.co.il) no no yes no no C
Leumi (hb2.bankleumi.co.il) no no yes no no C
Discount (start.telebank.co.il) no no yes yes no A-
Mizrahi Tfahot (www.mizrahi-tefahot.co.il) no no yes yes partial A-
First International Bank of Israel (online.fibi.co.il) no yes no yes no C
Gmail (mail.google.com) yes yes no yes yes B
Yahoo mail (uk-mg42.mail.yahoo.com) no no yes yes yes A
Facebook (www.facebook.com) no yes yes yes yes B
Bank of America (secure.bankofamerica.com) no no yes yes no A-

Opinion / Rant

Banks that do not support TLS 1.2 should close the web site, heads of security along with their bosses should do Seppuku and the banks should be closed. Do you think that banking information security is less important than emails or Facebook? Maybe it’s “duopoly of Hapoalim and Leumi” manifestation?

Banks that do not support forward secrecy – it’s about damn time!

When one of my clients asked me to improve HTTPS security (when it became important), it went from C to A in about half a day of work for several Nginx and ELB endpoints. Yes, a bank has more complex security and more variety in types of clients but it also has a security team, not one part-time operations guy. The security situation is outrageous.