Yahoo! Mail! offers! HTTPS! amid! account! hijack! spree!
Web giant tangles with resilient XSS bug
Vid Yahoo! is now offering to encrypt its webmail service with HTTPS for security-conscious users. Meanwhile, an exploit that allowed anyone to hijack Yahoo! Mail accounts if victims clicked on a link was being flogged to cybercrims for $700.
The HTTPS development, which is not enabled by default, affords Yahoo! webmail users greater privacy when accessing their emails and reassurance that someone is not intercepting and nobbling their communications. Competitors such as Microsoft's Hotmail and Google's Gmail have offered full-session HTTPS for some time. Emails handled in a web browser session without HTTPS are sent over the network unencrypted, leaving them wide open to eavesdropping, particularly when access through insecure locations such as Wi-Fi hotspots.
The handshaking that takes place when logging into a Yahoo! account was already encrypted, but this is no longer sufficient by itself as Yahoo itself now recognises.
Security experts have urged users to enable the always-on HTTPS privacy option, labelled "Turn on SSL", as soon as possible in the Yahoo! Mail Options tab.
In other Yahoo! news, the online giant claimed it had squashed a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in its webmail service; the flaw was blamed for a spate of account hijackings. The compromised accounts were used to send spam.
The bug, which was triggered by tricking users into clicking on a malicious link (as demonstrated in the above YouTube video), appears to be the same bug offered for sale for about $700 on an underground forum in November.
However researchers, including Offensive Security, reckon the bug remains and is still exploitable, contrary to Yahoo's claims otherwise. The situation remains somewhat confused: while things settle down, Yahoo! webmail users are advised to be extra cautious about following links in emails. ®
Unfortuantely Yahoo's SSL usage is flawed
When I turned on the SSL on my Yahoo Mail account, Yahoo Mail proceeded to keep asking me to log in when I took any action. I basically got stuck in an endless loop of being forced to log in over and over again without being able to do anything.
The reason this happens, is because Yahoo is mixing SSL and non-SSL content on the page and the SSL content is referencing non-SSL content (and vice-versa). This causes the page loads to fail since most browsers (I was using Firefox) won't allow mixed content and Yahoo interprets this as needing to log in again and puts up a login page.
Basically enabling SSL breaks Yahoo Mail. I managed to get in to the options using an old version of Internet Explorer (which allows non-SSL from SSL) and could turn off SSL. After that I could use Yahoo Mail without issue.
The mobile version already uses SSL and if I need encryption, I just change the http to https after going to the Yahoo Mail page.
Re: Deep Packet Inspection of SSL-Encrypted Traffic
This is installed in a business situation where you can create your own trusted root and deploy it to all the computers in the business. The trusted root is used to sign a wildcard certificate that the sonicwall box uses to do the encryption.
I would guess that if you have that rapport software installed that banks like people to download it would flag this as dodgy since the certs wouldn't match.
Yahoo! Lies! Again!
There is no such option on Yahoo Classic Mail.
Perhaps the story should say "Yahoo! Still! Does! Not! Make SSL! The! Default!