Attacks/Breaches
3/30/2011
01:30 PM
50%
50%

Comodo Reports Two More Registration Authorities Hacked

The digital certificate issuer has deactivated the affected accounts and begun to implement security and validation reforms.

10 Massive Security Breaches
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: 10 Massive Security Breaches
Two new registration authority (RA) accounts have been compromised at Comodo, the digital certificate issuer revealed Tuesday.

"Two further RA accounts have since been compromised and had RA privileges withdrawn. No further mis-issued certificates have resulted from those compromises," said Robin Alden, chief technical officer of Comodo, in a Usenet post. He said that no private Comodo keys were accessed or stolen.

The compromised accounts, which have been deactivated, were discovered during an investigation into a recent incident in which an attacker -- self-identified as being a solo Iranian hacker -- was able to fraudulently issue five certificates for domains including Firefox add-ons, Gmail, and Microsoft Live.

How were the two new RAs -- not named by Comodo -- compromised? According to Alden, most RAs must confirm all digital certificate requests by sending an email to a person with an email address on the requesting domain, or to a person that's explicitly mentioned as a contact in a site's WHOIS entry.

But 9% of the RAs that work with Comodo weren't using that process. In the case of the recent incident, that was because "the RA did a -- verified by Comodo -- good job of validating domain control and had a good and close relationship with his small number of customers," said Alden. "Also he spoke the same language as his customers."

The threat that Comodo was mitigating, he said, was that an RA might not be paying enough attention to validation. "What we had not done was adequately consider[ed] the new -- to us -- threat model of the RA being the subject of a targeted attack and entirely compromised."

Comodo said it's taking steps to prevent RAs -- even when their websites are completely compromised by attackers -- from being able to issue fraudulent certificates. For starters, Comodo implemented IP address restriction and two-factor authentication for all RAs. The latter should be live within two weeks, when all RAs have received their hardware tokens. "Until that process is complete Comodo will review 100% of all RA validation work before issuing any certificate," said Alden.

In addition, Comodo will stop issuing certificates to RAs from the root maintained by Mozilla. Because the certificates were subordinate to the root, Mozilla couldn't easily deactivate them when warned that they were fraudulent. Instead, Mozilla had to hard-code a fix into Firefox.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-1375
Published: 2015-01-28
pixabay-images.php in the Pixabay Images plugin before 2.4 for WordPress does not properly restrict access to the upload functionality, which allows remote attackers to write to arbitrary files.

CVE-2015-1376
Published: 2015-01-28
pixabay-images.php in the Pixabay Images plugin before 2.4 for WordPress does not validate hostnames, which allows remote authenticated users to write to arbitrary files via an upload URL with a host other than pixabay.com.

CVE-2015-1419
Published: 2015-01-28
Unspecified vulnerability in vsftp 3.0.2 and earlier allows remote attackers to bypass access restrictions via unknown vectors, related to deny_file parsing.

CVE-2014-5211
Published: 2015-01-27
Stack-based buffer overflow in the Attachmate Reflection FTP Client before 14.1.433 allows remote FTP servers to execute arbitrary code via a large PWD response.

CVE-2014-8154
Published: 2015-01-27
The Gst.MapInfo function in Vala 0.26.0 and 0.26.1 uses an incorrect buffer length declaration for the Gstreamer bindings, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via unspecified vectors, which trigger a heap-based buffer overf...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.