by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 25th 2010 7:59pm
The idea of using man-in-the-middle attacks to spy on encrypted conversations is hardly new, but there hasn't been a really thorough discussion of the likelihood of its use against SSL connections (the encrypted connections you see in your web browser on https sites, such as online banking sites, with the little lock shown in the corner of your browser). A new paper highlights not only how this works, but also how there's a company selling the technology to governments to use. Of course, to make it work and be an effective man in the middle, you need a certificate authority to grant you a fake certificate -- but there are some fears that gov'ts could do this by force or by trickery -- and hackers could certainly do it by trickery. The Wired article above quotes people at both GoDaddy and VeriSign insisting that they've never issued fake certificates to the gov't, but it is suspicious that a company is selling a device to gov'ts to do exactly this. The real problem is in the basic implementation of SSL, which right now involves too much blind trust. Apparently, the EFF is working with some security researchers to make some suggestions on ways that this could be fixed.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Emails Show Hillary Clinton's Email Server Was A Massive Security Headache, Set Up To Route Around FOIA Requests
- Russia's Problem (According To Russian Politicians): Not Enough Mass Surveillance
- Scottish Law Enforcement Also Apparently Hooked Up To NSA/GCHQ's Data Firehose
- House Intel Boss, Rep. Devin Nunes, Lying To Congress About Attempt To Stop Encryption Backdoors
- Techdirt Podcast Episode 77: The Link Between Credit And Surveillance