Skip to main content

New Trust Solutions

With the all of the activity circling around SSL certs and CA trust, there is an inherent trust problem.  Internet users have been taught to trust the PKI scheme that we use for all secure browsing activity.  There are two very valid cases for the destruction of this trust:

1.  Law-enforcement / Government interception.  There are product vendors whose business model is to supply equipment to law enforcement and government clients which can "law-fully" intercept communications without the knowledge of the end-user.  Example is  Although I do not have a link (can anyone supply a corroborating link?), there are several product pages that are not publicly accessible which would likely confirm this fact.  In order for these products to work, the SSL certs that are used would have to be trusted by the browser software to avoid being detected as un-trusted.  I am theorizing that these certs would be generated by one of the trusted roots within the existing trust-model.

2.  Compromised CAs.  Both Comodo and Diginotar both purport to have been compromised resulting in the generation of certificates that can be used to emulate the trust with popular web properties.  To the end user there is no easy way to differentiate between valid and invalid certs.

The impact here is that a user may think that all information is secured between them and the server, but in reality this traffic may be routed through a very-untrusted 3rd party and intercepted.  We currently have no effective tool to provide information to users that any activity like this has occurred.  So for the mean time we should be very vigilant about who we are communicating with, and the certificates that are used to trust their identities.

I also encourage and hope that we see some innovative solutions created that will allow users to be aware of changes to traffic patterns - indicating potential MITM, and new methods of generating trust in web-services like convergence


Popular posts from this blog

Consumer Benefits of Credit Card Security

Recently, new types of credit card security features have be debuted, such as this one from Visa. And as some of the comments on Bruce Schneier's blog point out, its questionable how effective this is. I want to figure out what the motivation is behind these ideas, as it appears banks and the major credit card brands are not completely transparent about the benefits to the consumer. My example is this, one source has that in 2005 $2.8 million was lost due to credit card fraud from Visa and MasterCard in Canada alone. These costs are absorbed by the credit card companies as they protect their cardholders from liability, but as can be expected these costs are directly applied to the card brand customers, people and merchants, in the form of fees and interest rates. Now lets say that card brands can deploy a technology to eliminate 90% of this fraud and associated insurance and liability costs. Likely a large savings both in Canada and globally. Would we, the public and mercha

OpenSolaris, ZFS, iSCSI and OSX - Creative Storage - Part II

In part I of this post, I looked at the simple steps required to setup a relatively simple storage solution using OpenSolaris, ZFS, iSCSI and OSX. This was about a month ago, and I've made some significant changes on how this is used for me. At the end of the last post I left off on the part dealing with configuration of the iSCSI initiator side of the solution. I stopped here because there were some issues related to the installation and use of the software. The iSCSI initiator that I was using was Studio Network Solutions GlobalSAN initiator (version which is used to allow for connections to their products. This software will also allow for connections to ANY iSCSI target! After the configuration of the iSCSI target on the ZFS pool, and installation of the client it was trivial to get the connection established with the storage pool, and it showed up in OSX as a raw disk which had not been formatted. I proceeded to format the disk as HFS+ and it then mounted as a lo

May Security Catch-up

Its been much too long since my last post - Sony's PSN network has been breached a few times , a record number of vulnerabilities have been published , and the US government has released a new set of cyber space strategies . On the cool tools and technologies there have been lots of notable releases: Some research from Albert Cotesi New Zealand on the traffic flowing from IOS to 3rd parties, now sniffable thanks to MITMProxy , and instructions on getting it working with IOS As always SQLmap is making life easier for the vulnerability assessor and pen-tester. Microsoft has released an updated to the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit - I'll be looking into this over the next few weeks, and how it can be applied practically. New major version of Backtrack also released, for those of you that are still relying upon live-cd's as a source for tools.