When nowadays I point my browser to https sites, the cipher that is on most occasions used is Camellia. My browsers (Chrome and Firefox) seem to prefer it, even when AES is available.

Is that not kind of dangerous? Camellia did not receive so much scrutiny as did e.g. AES, so we know actually less about its security. Would it not be much better if AES was the default? I know I can change the cipher on Firefox, but it is not obvious how to do the same in Chrome.

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    $\begingroup$ Personally - I've never seen Camellia in use in the wild. Could you post some links to sites which use it? (I'm curious). RC4 or AES seem to be the most common SSL algorithms these days. There's some discussion of Camellia here. $\endgroup$
    – hunter
    Mar 1, 2013 at 16:33
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    $\begingroup$ @hunter: login.yahoo.com for one $\endgroup$
    – Jumbogram
    Mar 2, 2013 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Jumbogram - yes, Yahoo is mentioned in the link that I posted. Still, that's the only one that I'm aware of. I certainly wouldn't say that Camellia is "widely used" (despite being a strong algorithm). $\endgroup$
    – hunter
    Mar 2, 2013 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ This is an example: ebanking.easybank.at As is almost any other austrian bank. $\endgroup$
    – MKK
    Mar 4, 2013 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ I just found out that Camellia is a EU recomended cipher: cosic.esat.kuleuven.be/nessie/deliverables/… So I guess it was kind of unfair to term it 'dangerous'. Sorry. $\endgroup$
    – MKK
    Mar 7, 2013 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


The reason why you see that is because Camellia is the highest-preference cipher in NSS (Chrome and Firefox). Servers that support Camellia and use the client-preferred cipher suite will use Camellia.

NSS's rationale for this ordering is:

National ciphers such as Camellia are listed before international ciphers such as AES and RC4 to allow servers that prefer Camellia to be able to negotiate Camellia without having to disable AES and RC4, which are needed for interoperability with clients that don't yet implement Camellia.

See also: Bug 430875

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    $\begingroup$ "reason for NSS's ordering" makes little sense. A server preferring unusual ciphers can simply choose a cipher that's lower on the client's list. $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2013 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ @CodesInChaos: Indeed, this seems like a silly reason, given the existence of SSLHonorCipherOrder and similar options for other servers. Still, +1 to Jumbogram for figuring out the reason, even if it's silly. $\endgroup$ Mar 2, 2013 at 19:20

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