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Breakdown of the TLS_ECDHE_PSK_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA cipher suite

Cyber Security Rating for TLS_ECDHE_PSK_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA - D


Key Exchange Mechanism

Elliptic Curve Diffie Hellman Ephemeral-ECDHE

ECDHE (Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman Ephemeral) is used because it enhances security through the use of ephemeral keys, which are temporary and unique for each session. This ensures that even if one session's key is compromised, past and future sessions remain secure. ECDHE provides perfect forward secrecy, meaning that the compromise of long-term keys does not affect the confidentiality of past communications. The ephemeral nature of the keys significantly reduces the risk of long-term data breaches and enhances the overall robustness of the cryptographic protocol.



Pre-Shared Key-PSK

PSK (Pre-Shared Key) cipher suites are used for authentication in secure communication protocols like TLS. They allow parties to establish a shared secret beforehand, ensuring confidentiality and integrity of data exchanges without the overhead of public key infrastructure (PKI), suitable for constrained environments or specific security requirements.



Advanced Encryption Standard-AES

AES should be used in cipher suites because it offers strong security with efficient performance, large block size (128 bits), and resistance to known attacks. Its widespread adoption and thorough analysis by the cryptographic community ensure reliability and robustness for encrypting sensitive data.



Secure Hash Algorithm-SHA

Chosen prefix attacks for SHA1 are feasible at an accessible cost to a well-funded adversary. This level of expense, while significant, does not pose a substantial barrier to attackers with sufficient resources, making such attacks a credible threat.


Key Size

128 Bit-128

128-bit symmetric encryption keys are considered secure because they provide an astronomically large number of possible combinations (2^128), making brute-force attacks computationally infeasible with current technology. This level of security is sufficient for most practical purposes and is widely adopted in various encryption protocols.


Cipher Mode

Cipher Block Chaining-CBC

Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) mode is vulnerable to the Lucky13 and POODLE (in TLS v1.2 and below) attacks. The Lucky13 attack exploits timing discrepancies in padding validation, allowing attackers to gradually reveal plaintext. The POODLE attack leverages padding errors to decrypt ciphertext by repeatedly modifying and sending it to the server, observing the error responses. These vulnerabilities arise from CBC's handling of padding and error messages, making it less secure than modern encryption modes like Galois/Counter Mode (GCM), which offer stronger integrity and confidentiality guarantees.

Web infrastructure owners must ensure they only allow secure cipher suites to protect against potential security threats. Cipher suites determine the encryption algorithms and key exchange mechanisms used in HTTPS connections. Insecure cipher suites can leave data vulnerable to interception, decryption, and manipulation by malicious actors. By restricting to secure cipher suites, owners mitigate risks such as data breaches, unauthorized access, and compromise of sensitive information. This proactive measure helps maintain trust with users, ensures compliance with security standards, and safeguards the integrity and confidentiality of data transmitted over the web.
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