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ciphersurfer is a tool written for the early stages of a penetration test activities. While gathering information about an host, it's important to evaluate how strong is the cryptography applied to the HTTP traffic. This is the ciphersurfer goal.

The tool tries for every SSL protocols it supports to connect to the host with all ciphers saving the ones the server supports.

This information used with certificate key lenght and the list of supported protocols by the server it's used to evaluate how strong is the target HTTPS configuration. This gives the penetration test an information about how secure is the communication between clients and the target machine.

Some disclaimer

ciphersurfer performs neither of the followings:

  • denial of service attacks
  • cross site scripting or injection attempts
  • data manipulation or leakage

The requests the tool makes are just an HTTP GET / of target website to ensure the server accept an HTTP communication given a SSL protocol and cipher proposed by the client. No more. Really, ciphersurer won't hurt your webserver, nor your business.

If you don't trust this disclaimer, just check the source code.

Installing ciphersurfer

ciphersurfer is deployed as standard gem served by rubygems.

To install latest ciphersurfer stable release, just issue this command:

gem install ciphersurfer

If you want to install a pre release, such as a release candidate you can do it this way:

gem install ciphersurfer --pre

I recommend you to install rvm in order to have your gem binaries tool installed in your home directory, otherwise ciphersurfer will try to install itself in standard /usr/bin directory if no other flags are passed to gem command.

Using ciphersurfer

After ciphersurfer has been installed, using it it's very simple.

To evaluate secure communication with the target host at the standard HTTPS port, you just give the tool the target name as option:


As output you will see an evaluation for HTTPS configuration. The evaluation scale is:

  • A: prime class HTTPS configuration. Servers handling very sensitive information
  • B: strong HTTPS configuration, suitable for must production servers
  • C: quite goot HTTPS configuration. If your web server is a private server and for development or testing purposes, it can be acceptable. If your server is exposed to the Internet, you want to improve your SSL configuration.
  • D: poor HTTPS configuration. Suitable only for development machines.
  • E: weak HTTPS configuration. You really don't want to have this score

If your HTTPS server is listening to a non standard port, you can supply the port number (e.g. 4433) this way:


You can also just listen ciphers supported by your web server instead of having an SSL evaluation:

$ ciphersurfer -l 

"Evaluating secure communication with"
"[+] accepted RC4-MD5"
"[+] accepted AES256-SHA"
"[+] accepted DES-CBC3-SHA"
"[+] accepted AES128-SHA"
"[+] accepted RC4-SHA"

Some theory behind ciphersurfer


For the SSL security evaluation, we use SSLabs document as reference.

OWASP Testing guide

ciphersurfer goal is to make tests described in the [Owasp Testing guide](\))

Contributing to ciphersurfer

  • Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet
  • Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it
  • Fork the project
  • Start a feature/bugfix branch
  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution
  • Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.


Copyright (c) 2012 Paolo Perego. See LICENSE for further details.