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Avoiding SSL Man In The Middle Attacks

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 17:03:38 -0400

This is quite important.  It appears that SSL MIM attacks are increasingly
possible (or increasingly popular, or I am simply hearing more about them).
This is partly technical and partly social.

The technical part is that a browser contains *many* root certificates, and
only one associated CA needs to provide a false certificate for any site to be
attacked.  The social part is obtaining the false certificate (in particular,
it seems that police in various countries may be regularly obtaining
certificates for CAs in those countries).

To avoid this type of attack one solution is to check whether the certificate
that *you* receive is the same as everyone else.  To do that requires a
central service and a browser plugin.  These are avilable here -
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~perspectives/firefox.html

To configure this, once installed, I would suggest:
  1 - NOT allowing the site to automatically override errors
  2 - Contacting the notary for ALL sites
The second is particularly critical, as far as I can see.

Andrew

SSL MIM Paper

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 03:21:50 -0400

http://cryptome.org/ssl-mitm.pdf

The "CryptLock" softwar mentioned there is not publicly available (and, in all
honesty, doesn't seem that useful).

Andrew

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