Server-side workaround for BEAST SSL vulnerability on IIS

Recently, a vulnerability in the CBC cipher suite used in the SSL and TLS protocols was discovered that could allow an attacker to gain access to encrypted information. While the attack is not easily implemented, it will show up on compliance audits and auditors don’t like that. Fortunately, there is a server-side fix for Server 2008 and above that can be easily implemented without breaking compatibility with clients.

More information about the attack and workarounds can be found here:

The workaround is to enable TLS 1.1 and/or 1.2 on servers that support it, and prioritize cipher suites so RC4 takes precedence over CBC. Server 2008 R2 and above supports TLS 1.1 and 1.2 – you can enable those protocols by following the instructions in KB 2588513. You’ll also want to change the priority of cipher suites on all Server 2008 and above systems using group policy (either a local group policy object for a single server, or by modifying domain policy in an AD environment).

1. Open Group Policy Editor (locally, Start>Run>gpedit.msc).
2. Browse to Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>Network>SSL Configuration Settings.
3. Modify SSL Cipher Suite Order: set it as enabled, and enter a comma delimited list of cipher suites. I recommend the following:


4. Reboot the server for the setting to take effect.

Configure source ip for Nessus daemon on Windows

Nessus from Tenable Network Security is an invaluable tool for vulnerability scanning. As a windows-only shop, we were very pleased that Nessus would run on a Windows platform. For our configuration, we have a server sitting outside of our firewall with multiple public IP addresses. We configured firewall policies for the system’s primary IP address to allow it necessary access into our environment and from our management subnet to the device. That means we needed a different IP address to use for scanning so it can be subject to the standard rules that apply to all external traffic.

In *nix environments, the Nessus daemon has a command line switch that forces the scanner to use a specific source IP for scans (this is different than the “listen address” which is used by remote clients to connect to the scanner – that setting can be configured in nessusd.conf). Unfortunately, the nessus-service.exe called by the Windows Service does not pass command line parameters to the nessusd process.

Not to worry, our old friend srvany comes to the rescue (note that srvany only works on Windows 2000/2003/XP). Perform the following steps:

  1. Stop the Nessus service
  2. Copy the srvany.exe executable to C:\Program Files\Tenable\Nessus
  3. Modify the ImageName value under HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tenable Nessus to C:\Program Files\Tenable\Nessus\srvany.exe
  4. Add a Parameters key under HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tenable Nessus
  5. Add a REG_SZ value named Application with the following value (replace <ip_address> with the IP you want the scanner to use for scans):
    C:\Program Files\Tenable\Nessus\nessusd.exe -S <ip_address>
  6. Start the Nessus service.

Happy scanning!