Feeds

How is SSL hopelessly broken? Let us count the ways

Blunders expose huge cracks in net's trust foundation

Seven Steps to Software Security

Was it Iran?

Abdulhayoglu has also taken heat for claiming the counterfeiters were acting on behalf of the Iranian government, even though his sole support for that contention is Iranian IP addresses used to hack into the RA's system and to test the validity of one of the forged certificates.

Even after the purported hacker stepped forward to say he acted on his own and provided incontrovertible proof he had access to one of the forged certificate's private key, Abdulhayoglu has continued to insist the attack could only have been carried out by a well-funded, state-sponsored actor.

His claim is that the attackers used a “zero-day vulnerability followed by reverse engineering” of code taken from the reseller's fully-patched server.

According to an interview the purported hacker gave to Rob Graham, CEO of Errata Security, the zero-day exploit involved a SQL injection, which is the most common form of attack on the internet. The code that was reverse engineered was written in Microsoft's C#, which unlike languages such as C++, is extraordinarily easy to decompile.

“This is again the attempt by the CEO to be disingenuous,” said Graham, whose company regularly carries out penetration tests to gauge the security of clients' systems. “We've done hacks like this, so when he says it was so complex it must have taken a team, no. We've done simple hacks like that that took one person one day.”

Whatever exaggerations or unsubstantiated claims Abdulhayoglu has bandied, the CEO should be commended for admitting the shortcomings of the industry he is part of. He was a founding member of the CA/Browser Forum, the group that got extended validation certificates off the ground. He also backs other industry initiatives to improve SSL security, including the Certification Authority Authorization Resource Record currently under consideration by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Another proposal under consideration is known as the DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities. It would go a long way to locking down the SSL system, but it requires the implementation of DNSSEC, or DNS Security Extensions. The cryptographic system for improving the security of the internet's domain-name lookup system has been gaining steam, but it's got a long way to go.

Another initiative includes the Google Certificate Catalog, which indexes technical details of all SSL certificates spotted by the search engine's agents

Given the growing sophistication of hacks that have hit Google and what many believe could be hundreds of other companies – virtually all of which count on SSL to secure their internal networks – here's hoping the industry puts aside its security theater antics and heeds his calls for reform.

“It's pretty crappy, but it's what it is now,” White Hat Security CTO Jeremiah Grossman said, referring to the SSL system. “It is definitely weak. It could fall down at anytime.” ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.