Perimeter
11/28/2011
12:46 PM
Taher Elgamal
Taher Elgamal
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

SSL's Future

SSL will evolve to meet requirements for e-commerce and mobile

So what will happen to the current e-commerce world based on SSL and all of the new authentication methods under way?

SSL has been the target for a variety of attacks, many of which have been in the news lately. I believe that it will be extremely difficult to fundamentally change the models for e-commerce after 15 years of growth, despite the fraud and threats we know about. The appropriate way to manage fraud better is to work on the existing systems to improve how parties assure themselves of the identities of others involved in transactions.

There is actually more than one way that authentication can be supported within the SSL framework as it stands.

Any strong authentication can simply be used after the one-sided server authentication and encryption session has been established. At this point, the server can request any authentication information from the client, and the authentication can happen within the encrypted session. Each website can choose the authentication method it desires, as long as browser and client support can be established somehow.

Alternatively, the strong authentication method desired could be used to “unlock” a private key with a digital certificate on the client side that can be used to provide the client authentication requested by the SSL server.

Either way, the current infrastructure can, in fact, support multiple authentication methods that will help us mitigate the dependence on user passwords.

I wish that the technical community could collaborate on improving the existing e-commerce infrastructure. Many improvements are needed, for sure, but incremental improvements have always worked better than calling for a new infrastructure that would not be possible to actually put together.

My prediction is that SSL will grow with the e-commerce needs and that new versions and new implementations will meet the expectations for growing e-commerce and mobile commerce requirements.

Recognized in the industry as the "inventor of SSL," Dr. Taher Elgamal led the SSL efforts at Netscape. He also wrote the SSL patent and promoted SSL as the Internet security standard within standard committees and the industry. Dr. Elgamal invented several industry and government standards in data security and digital signatures area, including the DSS government standard for digital signatures. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0485
Published: 2014-09-02
S3QL 1.18.1 and earlier uses the pickle Python module unsafely, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted serialized object in (1) common.py or (2) local.py in backends/.

CVE-2014-3861
Published: 2014-09-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in CDA.xsl in HL7 C-CDA 1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted reference element within a nonXMLBody element.

CVE-2014-3862
Published: 2014-09-02
CDA.xsl in HL7 C-CDA 1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to discover potentially sensitive URLs via a crafted reference element that triggers creation of an IMG element with an arbitrary URL in its SRC attribute, leading to information disclosure in a Referer log.

CVE-2014-5076
Published: 2014-09-02
The La Banque Postale application before 3.2.6 for Android does not prevent the launching of an activity by a component of another application, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive cached banking information via crafted intents, as demonstrated by the drozer framework.

CVE-2014-5136
Published: 2014-09-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Innovative Interfaces Sierra Library Services Platform 1.2_3 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.