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Pantz.org now with https
Posted on 11-10-2014 00:26:04 UTC | Updated on 11-10-2014 00:39:02 UTC
Section: /software/http/ | Permanent Link

It is my pleasure to announce that Pantz.org can now be accessed in a more secure manner. Why add this now? What needed to happen to make this a viable option? Why can't some users access the secure site? Read on to find out.

Why not offer secure connections sooner?

The major reason I did not switch over to https sooner was that Google needed to support secure connections to their Ad servers. Late last year Google finally added the ability to serve up their Ads via SSL/TLS. I was not going to offer access to my site while the Ads could only be served up via standard http.

If you try to serve up external content (Ads) from your secure site, and that content is unencrypted you get nasty messages from browsers about the site having mixed content. The messages are very intrusive and ugly. By Google switching Adsense to https that ugliness goes away. All connections from the site could now go out securely via SSL/TLS.

The second reason I decided to do it was Google starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. I know these reasons are very Google centric, but the Ads pay for the site.

What type of cert did you get?

I wanted to choose one of the most secure types of certs I could for use on Pantz.org. This lead me to choose a ECDSA (Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm) with a SHA-256 certificate signing request. I got the cert from Comodo. Comodo offers ECDSA certificates signed by the Elliptical Curve DSA all the way up to the built in, browser trusted, Comodo ECC Root Certificate. This makes Comodo one the only CA's to offer a pure ECC certificate chain.

How did you get this whole mess configured?

That was the easy part. Our friends over at Calomel.org have a great tutorial on the how to perform the whole process. It's so indepth I don't even need to do a tutorial here like normal.

Why can't I get to your secure site

https has evolved over the years. SSL v2 came out in 1995. V3 came out in 1996. The successor to SSL is TLS. TLS 1.0 was defined in RFC 2246 in January 1999. TLS 1.1 was defined in 2006. TLS 1.2 was defined in 2008. Over the years weakness have shown up in the early SSL v2-3 protocols. These weaknesses make attacks more viable. Because of these weaknesses I have decided to disable SSL connections to Pantz.org.

Ciphers have also had attacks levied against them over the years. Some of cipher types have shown up with weaknesses are RC4 and DES. Because of these weaknesses I have disabled the use of DES and RC4 on Pantz.org.

By turning off SSL connections and not using RC4 or DES as an encryption type there are some people that will not be able to get to the secure Pantz.org site. The majority of people that will have this issue are people are using old Operating Systems and old browsers. Mainly this will likely be people trying to use Internet Explorer 6 to access the secure site or people trying to access the site with Windows XP on certain configurations. There are a few combinations of Windows XP and some browsers that work with TLS 1.0 (IE 8 and WinXP SP3), but many combos just don't. Even MS does not support XP anymore so upgrade.

Don't worry you still have http

There is nothing on Pantz.org needs a secure connection, so if you have issues connecting to the secure site just use the http version. It's as simple as that.

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Quick and dirty web servers
Posted on 05-13-2011 01:18:41 UTC | Updated on 07-20-2016 23:11:59 UTC
Section: /software/http/ | Permanent Link

Have you ever needed a way to easily transfer some files to someone or just let them browse through an index of some of the files on your hard drive? It not worth setting up a full fledged enormous web server like Apache or Nginx or Lighttpd. Instead I used to use thttpd to do this. I recently found out how to setup a web server that serves out an index of files from the directory it's run from with a Python one-liner.

# python 2
python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8080

# python 3
python3 -m http.server

# ruby
ruby -run -e httpd -- -p 8001 .

The Python lines will run a simple web server on port 8080 and serve out an index page of files relative to the current directory you ran the command from. It will check for index.html or index.htm and if found will serve it out. If it's not found it just defaults to serving a directory index. You can read more about the module here

If you wanted serve out files but use https (SSL/TLS) instead then you could do it with OpenSSL. The difference with the OpenSSL web server compared to the Python web server is that OpenSSL will not give you a directory index from the directory you start the server from. You will have to request each file directly. You also need to execute 2 lines to start the OpenSSL webserver. One to generate the web server cert and one to start the server. Still it's very easy.

# Generate the fake cert in the current dir. Press enter to answer all questions.
openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout mycert.pem -out mycert.pem

# Start the server on port 4433 (default) using the cert we just made
openssl s_server -cert mycert.pem -accept 4433 -WWW

This will serve out files relative to the current directory. Since this is supposed to be quick and dirty the security about it is not that great but the connection is totally encrypted so nothing will be sent in plain text over the connection. With the lines above the key generated is in the same directory that we are serving data from so you should move that to a path outside of the web server. There are a bunch of other options for OpenSSL's s_server. Check out the man page with "man s_server".

I use a firewall to whitelist IP's from trusted people since you can't easily password protect these simple http(s) servers. Just a suggestion.

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Check http with telnet
Posted on 07-25-2001 00:13:00 UTC | Updated on 07-25-2001 00:13:00 UTC
Section: /software/http/ | Permanent Link

This is how to connect to a HTTP server using telnet. All commands are in bold. The [ENTER] below means press the enter key. Note that the enter key always needs to be hit twice after your done typing the last command. The [ENTER] below means hit the enter key.

Connect to the default website.

telnet example.org 80

You should recieve a reply to the effect of:

Trying 192.168.0.1...
Connected to example.org.
Escape character is '^]'.

Now we can send the get command to retrieve a page. Hit the enter key ([ENTER]) twice after the command.

GET / HTTP/1.0
[ENTER]
[ENTER]

Connect to a website that uses virtual hosts.

telnet example.org 80

You should recieve a reply to the effect of:

Trying 192.168.0.1...
Connected to example.org.
Escape character is '^]'.

Now we can send the get and host commands to retrieve a page. Hit the enter key ([ENTER]) twice after the host command.

GET / HTTP/1.1
[ENTER]
Host: www.example.org
[ENTER]
[ENTER]

Connect to a webserver and just get header info.

telnet example.org 80

You should recieve a reply to the effect of:

Trying 192.168.0.1...
Connected to example.org.
Escape character is '^]'.

Now we can send the head command to retrieve a page. Hit the enter key ([ENTER]) twice after the command.

HEAD / HTTP/1.0
[ENTER]
[ENTER]

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