Feeds

Fake certificate attack targets Facebook users in Syria

al-Assad family suspected of spying on its subjects

High performance access to file storage

A man-in-the-middle attack is being run against users of the secure version of Facebook in Syria, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warns.

The semi-professional attack against the HTTPS version of the Facebook site relies on a digital certificate unsigned by any Certificate Authority and probable re-routing of traffic by the Syrian Telecom Ministry. The ongoing attack has been detected against multiple Syrian ISPs.

The EFF doesn't name the perpetrators of the attack, but the ruse bears the hallmarks of an operation by the Syrian government, which is in the midst of cracking down on a popular uprising against the autocratic rule of the al-Assad dynasty. It amounts to an unsubtle attempt to snoop on Facebook posts and updates.

The use of an unsigned certificate as part of the attack means that the certificate is treated as invalid by modern browsers, raising a security warning. Unfortunately many users ignore such warnings, which can be generated for a variety of reason, such as attempting to visit a secure site via a Wi-Fi hotspot connection that requires an initial log-in.

Surfers in Syria are advised to use either Tor or proxies outside the country in order to access Facebook. The EFF has obtained a copy of the unsigned certificate used in the ruse via contacts in Syria, which it has published in an alert here.

The Facebook fake certificate ruse follows a problem that prevented Syrian surfers from accessing the encrypted version of Hotmail. Microsoft blamed a bug for what it characterised as a glitch, which it said had been limited to first-time users of the encrypted Hotmail who signed in from several countries. Webmail users in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, and Fiji were also affected by the snafu. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.