I'm attempting to disable SSLv2 support (amongst other things) in Courier on Linux. In /etc/courier/imapd-ssl I have:


This works nicely on imaps (993/tcp):

# openssl s_client -connect localhost:995 -ssl2

But for STARTTLS on 143/tcp it still seems to allow SSLv2:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:143 -starttls imap -ssl2

By contrast:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:143 -starttls imap -ssl3
140692334688072:error:1408F10B:SSL routines:SSL3_GET_RECORD:wrong version number:s3_pkt.c:339:
no peer certificate available
No client certificate CA names sent
SSL handshake has read 549 bytes and written 7 bytes
New, (NONE), Cipher is (NONE)
Secure Renegotiation IS NOT supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE
Protocol  : SSLv3
Cipher    : 0000
Key-Arg   : None
Krb5 Principal: None
PSK identity: None
PSK identity hint: None
Start Time: 1492550234
Timeout   : 7200 (sec)
Verify return code: 0 (ok)

So it looks to me is as SSLv2 is still enabled when using STARTTLS on 143

2 Answers 2


Since SSLv2 and SSLv3 are obsolete for years and TLS is the successor, nowadays you probably want to disable TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in courier. Don't set the TLS_CIPHER_LIST! The default will be fine, it will take the settings from your openssl settings.

In /etc/courier/imapd-ssl set


This will allow TLS 1.2 or newer (TLS 1.3 is out)

Whether TLSv1.2 works depends on whether your openssl library is recent enough to support TLS1.2

To check, if it worked see the result of

openssl s_client -tls1_1 -connect mail.example.org:993
  • 1
    I've been fighting with disabling of TLS1 and TLS1.1 for a good part of the weekend... Courier (couriertcpd?) seems to ignore TLS_PROTOCOL setting. No matter what I set it to, it always offers TLS 1, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. This is based on what testssl.sh reports, but if try to connect via openssl s_client and enforce TLS1 or TLS1.1, it fails to connect. I am confused about this behavior. Can it offer all protocols but then, upon an actual connect, refuse everything below 1.2? How do I stop Courier IMAPd from advertising protocols that it refuses to connect over?
    – evolvah
    Jan 24, 2021 at 17:22
  • @evolvah I have the same issue. Did you ever find a way to limit Courier IMAP to TLSv1.2+? Oct 13, 2022 at 1:36

I've just had the same trouble, it turns out that if courier imapd-ssl was build with gnutls, as is the case on debian, then the TLS_PROTOCOL variable seems to be ignored.

You can disable protocols using the TLS_PRIORITY configuration instead, see https://gnutls.org/manual/html_node/Priority-Strings.html for the reference documentation on the syntax.

Setting it from the default NORMAL:-CTYPE-OPENPGP to NORMAL:-CTYPE-OPENPGP:-VERS-TLS1.0:-VERS-TS1.1 disables the TLSv1.0 and TLSv1.1 protocols.

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