Automating SSL Certificate Management with Certbot and Let’s Encrypt

As we posted previously, following best practices for SSL certificate management is critical to properly secure your site. In that post, we discussed automating certificate management as a best practice. This post is an example of how to do just that.
To do so, we will use the highly-trusted free certificate provider Let’s Encrypt. We will also leverage the free certificate automation tool Certbot.

Installing Certbot

Installing Certbot is pretty easy, overall, but you do need to be comfortable with the command line and generally know how to configure your chosen web server. That said, if you check out the Certbot site, you will find a dropdown menu that will let you pick your chosen web server and operating system. Once you make your selections, simply follow the on-screen step-by-step instructions. In our testing, we found them to be complete and intuitive.

That’s It!

Following the on-screen instructions will have:

  • Certbot installed
  • Configure your web server for the certificate
  • Generate, get and install the certificate
  • Implement automatic renewals of the certificate to prevent expiration

You can literally go from a basic website to fully implemented and automated SSL in a matter of moments. Plenty of support is available from EFF for Certbot, or via Let’s Encrypt. In our testing, we ran into no issues and the implementation completed successfully each time.

Give it a shot! This might be one of the easiest and most effective security controls to automate. Together, Certbot and Let’s Encrypt can create a no-cost cryptography solution for your web sites in a very short amount of time.

MSI Partner Syhunt Brings Source Code Scanning to ASP & JSP

Syhunt has launched a very nice and powerful new edition of their Sandcat web application security tool. Sandcat is an extremely thorough and very capable assessment engine for web servers, web applications and web application source code. MSI has been using the tool for many years and we enjoy a very close relationship with the team behind the tool.

In addition to adding new features to the PHP source code scanning, this new release gives users the new capability to do white box testing on web applications for XSS vulnerabilities beyond PHP. The new version now includes cross site scripting checks for classic ASP, ASP.NET and JSP (JavaServer Pages) code modules. Syhunt even plans to further extend the classes of checks in those languages in the coming months. As with PHP source code assessment, this is a very powerful tool for increasing the quality and security of web applications, both new and legacy, around the enterprise.

Check out the new release at and let them know you heard it about from MSI. The Syhunt team are nice folks and they work very hard to bring you one of the most flexible, powerful and easy to use web application tools on the planet. Give it a shot, we think you’ll become a huge fan too!

Web App Security

Over the past few days more than 30 exploits have been released focusing on web applications. The exploits focus on SQL injection attacks, which are a major vulnerability lately, and that’s just for published web applications. Many more are being discovered in privately developed websites. It still seems that some developers out there are still not embracing secure coding practices.

Bot activity has still been seen spreading through websites also using these vulnerabilities. Causing normally trustable websites to deliver malware to unsuspecting users. Until all developers change their coding processes, we can expect these exploits and bot activity to keep increasing. In the mean time, we recommend that any applications you are developing undergo testing, and any web applications (such as CMS) you are using stay patched.