Disable SSLv3 in Dovecot

Disabling SSLv3 in Dovecot is nice and straight forward.

In the /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf file edit the ssl_cipher_list line to look as below (or adjust to suit your specific requirements):

ssl_cipher_list = ALL:!ADH:!LOW:!SSLv2:!SSLv3:!EXP:!aNULL:+HIGH:+MEDIUM

To test the option to ensure it’ll work you can run the following command before you restart dovecot and the output should look something like below:

$ openssl ciphers -v 'ALL:!ADH:!LOW:!SSLv2:!SSLv3:!EXP:!aNULL:+HIGH:+MEDIUM'
ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=RSA  Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=ECDSA Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=RSA  Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA384
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=ECDSA Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA384
DHE-DSS-AES256-GCM-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=DSS  Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=RSA  Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256   TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=RSA  Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA256
DHE-DSS-AES256-SHA256   TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=DSS  Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA256
ECDH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/RSA Au=ECDH Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/ECDSA Au=ECDH Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA384  TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/RSA Au=ECDH Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA384
ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/ECDSA Au=ECDH Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA384
AES256-GCM-SHA384       TLSv1.2 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=AESGCM(256) Mac=AEAD
AES256-SHA256           TLSv1.2 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=AES(256)  Mac=SHA256
ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=RSA  Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=ECDSA Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=RSA  Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256
ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH     Au=ECDSA Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256
DHE-DSS-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=DSS  Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=RSA  Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256   TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=RSA  Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256
DHE-DSS-AES128-SHA256   TLSv1.2 Kx=DH       Au=DSS  Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256
ECDH-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/RSA Au=ECDH Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/ECDSA Au=ECDH Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
ECDH-RSA-AES128-SHA256  TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/RSA Au=ECDH Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256
ECDH-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256 TLSv1.2 Kx=ECDH/ECDSA Au=ECDH Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256
AES128-GCM-SHA256       TLSv1.2 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=AESGCM(128) Mac=AEAD
AES128-SHA256           TLSv1.2 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=AES(128)  Mac=SHA256

Finally to test it from client side you can run the following command to ensure it’s not enabled. If it’s configured as expected the negotiation should fail and it’ll return you straight to the command prompt:

openssl s_client -connect mail.example.com:993 -ssl3

2 thoughts on “Disable SSLv3 in Dovecot”

  1. You can actually explicitly disable SSLv3 rather than disabling it via the cipher list, which is probably a better idea. Parameter:

    ssl_protocols = !SSLv2 !SSLv3

    You may also want to consider:

    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers = yes

    which makes the server’s cipher order preference override the client’s.

    I’d recommend having a ‘site config’ file – I use 99-happyassassin.conf – rather than editing the RPM-packaged dovecot config files. If you edit a packaged config file you’ll never get future Fedora or upstream updates to it; if you make your changes in a site config file with a later number they’ll override the settings from the shipped config files, but anything you don’t specify in your site config will continue to be properly managed by the package.

    See also The String:

    https://hynek.me/articles/hardening-your-web-servers-ssl-ciphers/

    which tends to work in anything OpenSSL-y and provides a very secure cipher suite. It’s what I use on all my servers; none of the devices I use seem to have any problems with it.

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