South African Banks SSL Security

After coming across an article testing the security of the SSL implementations of Australian banks, I decided to run the same tests on the South African banks, using SSL Lab’s SSL Server Test. I have a little bit of inside info into some of the banks systems, so was not too surprised how bad the results were.

Bank Overall Grade Protocol Support Key Exchange Cipher Strength
Capitec A- 95 80 90
FNB B 95 80 90
Nedbank B 70 90 80
Absa F 0 90 90
Standard F 0 0 60

None of the banks score an A (they all fail with Forward Secrecy), but pick of the bunch was Capitec, whose only only other failing was using a relatively weak signature.

FNB is limited to a B by accepting the weak RC4 cipher, and Nedbank adds supporting only older protocols to the list of failings.

You’d hope for better security from banks, but the failings of Capitec, FNB and Nedbank are not too serious. On to the others…

Absa has all of the above failings, does not support secure renegotiation, uses the obsolete SSL3, and most dismally of all, is vulnerable to the POODLE attack against TLS servers.

Although Standard Bank also gets an F, it stands alone in the number of criteria it failed. It uses the even more old and insecure SSL 2, supports insecure Diffie-Hellman (DH) key exchange parameters, supports 512-bit export suites and might be vulnerable to the FREAK attack as well as being vulnerable to POODLE.

It’s quite astounding that Standard Bank may still be still vulnerable to the FREAK attack, which has been known about for over two months, and which is extremely serious.

These results match the banks scores in other areas as well, such as bank fees and customer satisfaction. So Standard Bank clients will be happy to know they’re not only with the least secure bank, but also with the most expensive and the one with the worst customer service.

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30 Artists in 30 Days #30 – Gabby Young

Gabby Young

(Slightly more than) 30 days have raced by and the final choice is nigh. I settled down for a long night of searching, determined to make discovery number thirty a special love affair. I had multiple tabs open with possible candidates, but never got past the first one.

It was ecstasy at first sight, and 30 Artists in (slightly more than) 30 Days is Gabby Young.

I was a little stuck on how to describe them (the full band is Gabby Young and Other Animals), but they helpfully describe themselves as “an eccentric eight piece British pop band, bringing together gypsy, folk, rock and jazz”. That scratches the surface of their variety.

Even better, I’ve been looking for an artist featuring an accordion. My parents met in an accordion band, and although their music, putting it mildly, was never my favourite, there is lots of reinvented accordion music I enjoy. So to find the accordion making an occasional appearance in some of Gabby’s videos was the vegan ice cream on top.

Currently Gabby has 40 patrons pledging $226.00 per song.

See Gabby Young’s Patreon page.

See all the 30 Artists in 30 Days here.

30 Artists in 30 Days #29 – Unwoman


The penultimate 30 Artists in 30 Days, artist number twenty-nine, is cellist-singer-songwriter Unwoman.

The name was apparently inspired by the unwomen from Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, and refers to the label given to women who didn’t fit into that rigid society.

Her music, described by Russian gothic label Shadowplay as “dark trip wave”, suits the Steampunk conventions she regularly features at. Besides being selected as today’s artist, she also, unbeknownst to me, has just won two reader’s choice Steampunk chronicle awards. Go Unwoman!

Currently Unwoman has 293 patrons pledging $593.61 per song.

See Unwoman’s Patreon page.

See all the 30 Artists in 30 Days here.

30 Artists in 30 Days #27 – Walk Off the Earth

Walk Off the Earth

30 Artists in 30 Days number twenty-seven are one of the biggest artists on Patreon, Canadian band Walk Off the Earth. They began in 2006, and have mainly built their following on their Youtube channel, which has over two million subscribers. Their Wikipedia page describes them as an alternative rock, ska, and reggae rock band, and there’s obviously lots more to explore amaongst their huge number of uploads, as I haven’t heard anything resembling reggae rock yet!

Currently Walk off the Earth have 1448 patrons pledging $15,805.50 per music video.

See Walk Off the Earth’s Patreon page.

See all the 30 Artists in 30 Days here.

30 Artists in 30 Days #26 – Christopher Bill

Christopher Bill

30 Artists in 30 Days number twenty-six, Christopher Bill, reinvents an instrument that I associate with military bands and bad high school music. The trombone is made cool again as Christopher covers well-known songs with just his trombone and some creative looping.

Currently Christopher has 48 patrons pledging $287.50 per video.

See Christopher’s Patreon page.

See all the 30 Artists in 30 Days here.

30 Artists in 30 Days #25 – Tony Lucca

Tony Lucca

30 Artists in 30 Days number twenty-five, Tony Lucca was born into an extended musical family, spent time as an actor, and released his first album in 1997. A grizzled veteran of the music scene who’s been through the record label grinder, he was one of the early-adopters and started on Patreon in 2013.

Currently Tony has 178 patrons pledging $1,373.00 per video.

See Tony’s Patreon page.

See all the 30 Artists in 30 Days here.

30 Artists in 30 Days #24 – Phil J

Phil J

What drummer, usually hidden in the corner while the egotistical vocalist laps up the glory, wouldn’t like to be the centre of attention? 30 Artists in 30 Days number twenty-four is drummer Phil J, and in his featured video below you can spend almost the entire video watching, undistracted by any vocalists, his yellow socks hammering away, or, when the socks take a back-seat, Phil’s impressive energy on the drums.

The socks feature on a number of videos, and you’ll be interested to know he doesn’t only have yellow ones. Phil also makes drumming tutorial videos.

Currently Phil has 9 patrons pledging $34 per month.

See Phil’s Patreon page.

See all the 30 Artists in 30 Days here.

Before, you are wise, after, you are wise. In between, you are otherwise.