How to disable legacy/unsafe SSL algorithms in Microsoft IIS

One of our servers was recently audited for a certain certification and unfortunately we failed the initial test. For the most part we’re running a basic install of IIS on a Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64. To pass the test we had to disable the older algorithms for the SSL/TLS protocol as well as the older SSL 2.0 protocol. Disabling SSLv2 was easy but it was a little hard to read the individual algorithms that we needed to disable to compare to our report from our audit company. So below are keys that we disabled in the Ciphers key:

  • DES 56/56
  • NULL
  • RC2 40/128
  • RC4 40/128

Below is a registry snapshot that you should be able to import to do it for you. (Standard rules such as “this worked for me but it might not work for you” and “messing with the registry is dangerous so make sure you back it up first” obviously apply).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSecurityProvidersSCHANNELCiphersDES 56/56]


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSecurityProvidersSCHANNELCiphersRC2 40/128]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSecurityProvidersSCHANNELCiphersRC4 40/128]

After making these changes restart iis and then you should test to make sure that you’re okay. To test IIS, first install OpenSSL on the machine that you want to test from. NOTE, this doesn’t have to be the server itself (and I don’t recommend it), it can be any machine that can access your server. I installed this on my workstation. Once installed make sure that you can run “openssl.exe” from the command line. If not, you’ll need to adjust your PATH environmental variable. For me the OpenSSL binary was installed to “C:Program FilesGnuWin32bin“.

In the command lines below substitute with your server’s IP and 443 with your server’s SSL port (if for some crazy reason you changed it.)

The first step is to make sure that SSL 2.0 is disabled:

openssl s_client -connect -ssl2

If you get an error about “handshake failure” then SSLv2 has been disabled. If you get a long message that includes a certificate then its still running. (Note, the registry keys above were for ciphers only, not SSLv2). To see what a successful message looks like run the same command above but change ssl2 to ssl3:

openssl s_client -connect -ssl3

The next step is to test the individual ciphers:

openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA

That last part needed to be tested with the following 9 ciphers:

  • AES256-SHA
  • EXP-RC4-MD5
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher DES-CBC-MD5
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher DES-CBC-SHA
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher AES256-SHA
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher EXP-RC2-CBC-MD5
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher EXP-RC4-MD5
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher EDH-RSA-DES-CBC-SHA
openssl s_client -connect -ssl3 -cipher EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA

Assuming all of these fail with a handshake failure (and assuming I remembered all of the ones I tested) you should be set.