Fun with TLS 1.2

At work, I’ve somehow wound up being the “credit card expert” in my group. I don’t mind, really, since the work is reasonably interesting, most of the time. I had occasion to go down a bit of a rabbit hole this week that I thought might make for a good blog post.

PayPal, starting in mid-2017, is going to require that all communication with their APIs happen via TLS 1.2 and HTTP/1.1. TLS 1.1, at minimum, is a PCI requirement, so I’m sure that’s what motivated PayPal to make these changes. (Further info on the PCI requirement can be found here and here.)

I’ve been working on a project that uses PayPal’s Payflow Pro API. There is a .NET library for this API that hasn’t been updated by PayPal in years, but (for various reasons) it’s the only one we can use right now. So PayPal is requiring TLS 1.2, but apparently not updating this library accordingly or really offering any guidance about using it. So it’s been up to me to research this and figure out if we’re in trouble or not.

The library itself is offered as a DLL only. PayPal has been posting a lot of their source code to GitHub lately, but this particular API is only downloadable in binary format. It’s a non-obfuscated .Net DLL, though, so I’ve been able to poke around inside of it with JetBrains dotPeek. I can see that they’re using the standard HttpWebRequest class in the .NET Framework, so that’s a good start.

I also tried looking at the actual calls being made from this DLL, using Fiddler, but I had some problems with that. I thought about trying Wireshark instead, but it looks like I won’t have to bother with that.

Looking at several Stack Overflow questions led me to add the following line to my code, prior to calling the PayPal API:

ServicePointManager.SecurityProtocol = SecurityProtocolType.Tls12;

And I found a web site that has a simple API that can give you an indication of your SSL/TLS status. So I plugged in some calls to this API (using simple HttpWebRequest calls), and I think that the above line does, indeed, fix things for me.

Here’s some sample code to call that API (which I found here):

//ServicePointManager.SecurityProtocol = SecurityProtocolType.Tls12;
var response = WebRequest.Create("").GetResponse();
var responseData = new StreamReader(response.GetResponseStream()).ReadToEnd();

The API returns a block of JSON, which I’m just dumping to the console here, but you could also use JSON.NET and do something fancy with it.

PayPal is going to change their “pilot” endpoint over to support only TLS 1.2 in mid-February. So, at that time, I can run some tests and see if my guesswork holds up, or if there’s something I missed. I won’t be at all surprised if I do run into a “gotcha” or three. My understanding of this stuff is really not that deep, and who knows if PayPal is going to do something weird in their server implementation that breaks my code.

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