Is it possible to send messages over TLS with out encryption?
If so which cipher suite is needed for this?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean cipher suite NONE? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe Plonus
    Jul 1, 2013 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ Are you wanting authentication but not confidentiality? Or neither? $\endgroup$
    – mikeazo
    Jul 1, 2013 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ Why do you want to do this? Just to save the CPU time for the encryption? $\endgroup$ Jul 1, 2013 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ want to check whther that suite is supported by the server or not.. $\endgroup$
    – Kalai
    Jul 3, 2013 at 7:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Kalai: If you're looking to test your setup's ssl security, you can use the Qualys SSL Labs test. $\endgroup$
    – Reid
    Jul 24, 2013 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


Yes, there are a number of TLS cipher suites that don't include any encryption. These cipher suites are not normally used by OpenSSL, but they can be explicitly requested e.g. using the -cipher option to the OpenSSL tools.

Specifically, the suites offering no encryption and/or authetication are found under the NULL and aNULL cipher classes. The openssl ciphers manual page describes them as:

"eNULL, NULL: the "NULL" ciphers that is those offering no encryption. Because these offer no encryption at all and are a security risk they are disabled unless explicitly included.

aNULL: the cipher suites offering no authentication. This is currently the anonymous DH algorithms. These cipher suites are vulnerable to a "man in the middle" attack and so their use is normally discouraged."

To get a list of the cipher suites included in the NULL class, run openssl ciphers -v NULL. For me, the returned list looks like this:

ECDHE-RSA-NULL-SHA      SSLv3 Kx=ECDH     Au=RSA  Enc=None      Mac=SHA1
AECDH-NULL-SHA          SSLv3 Kx=ECDH     Au=None Enc=None      Mac=SHA1
ECDH-RSA-NULL-SHA       SSLv3 Kx=ECDH/RSA Au=ECDH Enc=None      Mac=SHA1
NULL-SHA256             TLSv1.2 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=None      Mac=SHA256
NULL-SHA                SSLv3 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=None      Mac=SHA1
NULL-MD5                SSLv3 Kx=RSA      Au=RSA  Enc=None      Mac=MD5 

To see if a specific server lets you connect to it using one of these suites, run:

openssl s_client -connect host:port -cipher NULL

Of course, for most services, this should cause the cipher suite negotiation to fail, like this:

$ openssl s_client -connect www.google.com:443 -cipher NULL
3073382600:error:14077410:SSL routines:SSL23_GET_SERVER_HELLO:sslv3 alert
handshake failure:s23_clnt.c:724:
no peer certificate available
No client certificate CA names sent
SSL handshake has read 7 bytes and written 139 bytes
New, (NONE), Cipher is (NONE)
Secure Renegotiation IS NOT supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE

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