Vulnerabilities / Threats
2/19/2009
02:03 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Black Hat: Security Pro Shows How To Bypass SSL

Moxie Marlinspike captured 16 credit card numbers, seven PayPal logins, and 300 other miscellaneous secure login sessions in only 24 hours.

To demonstrate the fragility of the Secure Sockets Layer, which is used to protect sensitive transactions online, security researcher Moxie Marlinspike captured 117 e-mail accounts, 16 credit card numbers, seven PayPal logins, and some 300 other miscellaneous secure login sessions in only 24 hours.

On Wednesday at the Black Hat Conference in Washington, D.C., Marlinspike explained that he obtained such data by placing proxy software he'd written, called "sslstrip," on a node of a Tor network, to conduct what's known as a man-in-the-middle attack.

The proxy software intercepts HTTPS traffic, generates and signs security certificates, and mediates data passing between the client and server, capturing everything in the process. And though there are ways to detect the attack, like recognizing that a Web URL begins with HTTP rather than HTTPS, none of the test victims noticed.

The attack can also be augmented with the addition of a lock icon, which would suggest to most users that the session is secure, even if it's not. It can be further enhanced through the addition of a homograph attack, which uses letters from different character sets to spoof well-known Web sites. Security researcher Eric Johanson in 2005 described such an attack using a Cyrillic 'a' in "www.paypal.com" to create a PayPal doppelganger site.

Marlinspike's attack isn't so much technical as it is social engineering. It relies on users failing to recognize the distinction between HTTP and HTTPS sessions and on other insecure habits, like people's penchant for typing, say, "www.wellsfargo.com" without the HTTPS portion of the URL.

Such tendencies allow Marlinspike to bypass SSL entirely. "Lots of times the security of HTTPS comes down to the security of HTTP, and HTTP is not secure," he explains in his presentation slides.

Marlinspike plans to release sslstrip later this week.


Want to hear about security for rich Internet applications? Black Hat is hosting a virtual event on this topic on Thursday, Feb. 26. Find out more (registration required).

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-2012-2808
Published: 2015-04-01
The PRNG implementation in the DNS resolver in Bionic in Android before 4.1.1 incorrectly uses time and PID information during the generation of random numbers for query ID values and UDP source ports, which makes it easier for remote attackers to spoof DNS responses by guessing these numbers, a rel...

CVE-2014-9713
Published: 2015-04-01
The default slapd configuration in the Debian openldap package 2.4.23-3 through 2.4.39-1.1 allows remote authenticated users to modify the user's permissions and other user attributes via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-0259
Published: 2015-04-01
OpenStack Compute (Nova) before 2014.1.4, 2014.2.x before 2014.2.3, and kilo before kilo-3 does not validate the origin of websocket requests, which allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of users for access to consoles via a crafted webpage.

CVE-2015-0800
Published: 2015-04-01
The PRNG implementation in the DNS resolver in Mozilla Firefox (aka Fennec) before 37.0 on Android does not properly generate random numbers for query ID values and UDP source ports, which makes it easier for remote attackers to spoof DNS responses by guessing these numbers, a related issue to CVE-2...

CVE-2015-0801
Published: 2015-04-01
Mozilla Firefox before 37.0, Firefox ESR 31.x before 31.6, and Thunderbird before 31.6 allow remote attackers to bypass the Same Origin Policy and execute arbitrary JavaScript code with chrome privileges via vectors involving anchor navigation, a similar issue to CVE-2015-0818.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Good hackers--aka security researchers--are worried about the possible legal and professional ramifications of President Obama's new proposed crackdown on cyber criminals.