Flame Malware Signed By 'Rogue' Microsoft Cert, Once Again Highlights Problems With Relying On Certs

from the time-to-move-forward dept

We've discussed in the past just how dangerous our reliance on Certificate Authorities "signing" security certificates has become. This is a key part of the way we handle security online, and yet it's clearly subject to abuse. The latest such example: the now infamous Flame malware that targeted computer systems in the Middle East was signed by a "rogue" Microsoft certificate -- one which was supposed to be used for allowing employees to log into a remote system. Microsoft rushed out a security update over the weekend, but that doesn't change the core problem: the whole setup of relying so heavily on secure certificates seems to be increasingly dangerous.

Filed Under: certificate authorities, flame, malware, middle east, security
Companies: microsoft

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  1. identicon
    Doug, 4 Jun 2012 @ 7:57pm

    FUD? Agreed.

    Certs aren't perfect. They're tricky and unforgiving. But most of the time they work. They're tricky and unforgiving because they are expected to do a very specific job quickly and in a very hostile environment.

    Every once in a while, somebody screws up and an attacker is able to slip in, but the problem is corrected (usually quickly). In other words, the system is working as expected. Nobody promised perfection, and the certificate system is still the best solution anybody has found so far.

    Do you have a better solution that you would be willing to share with the rest of the world? (I've heard a few alternatives presented, but they haven't been accepted by the general security industry because they are even easier to screw up than the existing system.)

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