Skip to main content

Blindly Trusted Roots

With both Comodo and Diginotar both having their security breached, it highlights some of the important trust issues we have on the Internet.  The process of trusting these root CA's is extremely important as they serve as the foundation of protecting our information as it is transmitted across public and untrusted networks.

Both of the breaches resulted in fraudulent certifications being issued and used to impersonate high-traffic sites such as google, yahoo, skype and live dot com properties.  These certificates were used to trick browsers (and users) into thinking that they were connected to a valid site, when they were not.

More importantly though is the realization that the trust in the root CA system on the Internet has been eroded.  With two publicly disclosed breaches, how many undisclosed breaches have their been, and how many breaches of these CA's have not even been discovered?

While the use of fraudulent certificates on high-volume consumer sites is a big issue, the bigger issue here is the use of low-volume high-value certs to intercept financial transactions, email message systems, and other highly critical services.

My position is that we need to come up with a new paradigm for establishing trust in public/private services, and eliminate the use of old broken systems like the root CA pki's.  The only issue I see is the speed with which this can happen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Local Classified Penny Auction Scam

While there are a lot of new posts regarding the new ways to exploit people using novel techniques and 0day exploits, there continues to be a rash of tried and true methods of coercion.  I want to just walk through a simple example and reflect on how effective these methods continue to be. Many people turn toward online classified sites to buy and sell items online.  This example starts with kijiji.ca which even I've used on occasion to find used electronics and other items.  Doing a search on the site for a " Samsung Galaxy Note 2 " returns a posting from today with someone selling one for an unreasonably priced unit. $125 for a $500 phone?, but what if it's for real?  No harm in just asking some simple questions.  Email sent with some obvious questions regarding the condition and location. About an hour passes before I get a response from what appears to be a legit seller. Notice no answer to the questions I asked, but a friendly pointer at where th

Touch ID - Distributed Fingerprint Lookup

All the press regarding the new Touch ID fingerprint biometric on Apple's new iPhone has brought some insight into how to misuse this service.  Most of the critics have focused on circumventing the device to gain access or Apple deciding to share the data with the Government. One interesting perspective that I haven't seen covered yet is if the system could be used as a distributed matching system for existing fingerprint image systems.  In an over simplified view of the process, a law enforcement agency can take an acquired fingerprint and search for patterns in the database of collected prints and spit out possible matches. Although Apple states that an API won't be available for apps, it is conceivable that such an interface might exist, and provide the ability to take an acquired print (either from the iPhone hardware or from software) and check it for validity against the stored print. There are some limits to this, as there is likely only going to be one prin

Announcing new team member - Benoit Desforges

I'm very pleased to announce that we've added another significant resource to our team.  Our new advisor Benoît Desforges brings international experience and a fresh perspective on information risk management. Prior to joining, Benoît worked for KPMG's advisory group, he holds several professional designations including CISSP, CISA, GCIH, and GAWN.  When he's not teaching advanced networking courses for a local university, Benoît enjoys travel and time with his family. Benoît will be providing our clients with security advice and building out a number of new and improved professional service offerings.  He'll also be regular contributor to our blog.  Congratulations Benoît!