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Updated Diffie-Hellman protocol

Posted: 22nd October 2015

We are in the process of updating the Diffie-Hellman protocol on our servers to ensure we provide the best security for all our users and survey respondents. The Diffie-Hellman protocol is part of the process that ensures information transmitted between the BOS servers and another computer (such as that being used by a survey author or survey respondent) is encrypted and cannot be decrypted if it is intercepted in transit.

The updates we are applying mean that we can use a more modern and secure protocol which has a positive benefit for all users. However, some very old browsers running on old operating systems cannot support the more modern protocol. Consequently, after the protocol update has been applied it will not be possible for these browsers to be used to complete surveys or access the admin area of BOS . This issue is limited to browsers on operating systems that are no longer supported by their providers and, as you might expect, are not commonly used as they have not been receiving security updates for some time. Using a more modern protocol is of benefit to all users and, given the age of the browsers that cannot support the protocol, the change should have little or no impact.

Following extensive testing, we will be rolling out the security protocol update to onlinesurveys.ac.uk on Tuesday 27 October 2015.

For reference, the browser and operating system combinations we expect to be affected by this change are:

Windows XP (unsupported April 2014):

  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Internet Explorer 6
  • Safari 4
  • Safari 5
  • Safari 5.1

OS X Lion (unsupported October 2014):

  • Safari 6

OS X Snow Leopard (unsupported February 2014):

  • Safari 4
  • Safari 5
  • Safari 5.1

Other browsers (e.g. Firefox and Chrome) on the above operating systems are unaffected although the operating systems remain unsupported by the vendors. Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 is not affected.

Please contact our support team if you have any questions about the security protocol changes.