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SSL and negotiated key strength
From: "Scott, Richard" <Richard.Scott () BestBuy com>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2001 11:38:40 -0500

Greetings all,

I've been playing around with SSL and Certificates and have come across a
problem.  I'm using apache and IIS as the web servers, and for an example
IE5 with 56bit capable encryption.

This is what I am seeing:

(1) With a global certificate, 128 bit shout be enforced, and for all
browsers that do not support 128 bit, the browser is "stepped up" somehow.

- With my 56bit capable browser, only 40bit encryption is negotiated, not
- With a 128bit browser, 128bit is supported.

Shouldn't it be the case that 128bit be used for all browsers with
Verisign's Global Certificates... ?  I shouldn't have to define in apache or
IIS to force 128bit, or should I? I am wondering whether the option in IIS,
for example, to enforce 128bit, only permits browsers with the high crypto
pack installed on the client?

(2) Connecting to Fortify.com, the SSL test for a 56bit capable browser only
negotiates to 40bit, why does it not use 56bit?

I believe that 128bit crypto can be exported now, please correct me if I am
wrong, and hence outside connections using SSL with 128bit encryption is


Richard Scott   
Information Security
? Best Buy World Headquarters
7075 Flying Cloud Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344 USA
The views expressed in this email do not represent Best Buy
or any of its subsidiaries.

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