Vulnerabilities / Threats
3/24/2011
12:47 PM
50%
50%

Iran Fingered For Fraudulent Comodo SSL Certificates

Gmail, Hotmail, and Skype are among the domains affected by fraudulently obtained digital certificates, said Comodo.

10 Massive Security Breaches
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: 10 Massive Security Breaches
On Wednesday, digital certificate issuer Comodo released a security warning that its European affiliate had issued nine fraudulent SSL certificates. The certificates -- used by Web sites to confirm the identity of end users -- were issued without sufficient identity validation, and were apparently obtained by the government of Iran.

All certificates have been revoked by Comodo. They involve seven domains: Firefox extensions (addons.mozilla.org), Global Trustee, Gmail (mail.google.com), Google (www.google.com), Skype (login.skype.com), Windows Live including Hotmail (login.live.com), and Yahoo (login.yahoo.com -- 3 certificates).

Microsoft on Thursday said that as a result of the fraudulent SSL certificates, it had updated Windows to prevent them from being used. In addition, it said, "browsers which have enabled the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) will interactively validate these certificates and block them from being used."

What's the threat posed by real security certificates being issued to the wrong party? According to Microsoft, "these certificates may be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks against all Web browser users including users of Internet Explorer."

Or to gather intelligence. "If you are a government and able to control Internet routing within your country, you can reroute all, say, Skype users to [a] fake https://login.skype.com and collect their usernames and passwords, regardless of the SSL encryption seemingly in place," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, in a blog post."Or you can read their email when they go to Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail. Even most geeks wouldn't notice this was going on."

Who would try to obtain fraudulent certificates? Comodo says that circumstantial evidence points to a state-backed operation run by Iran, due to the speed and accuracy of the operation, as well as the focus. "The perpetrator has focused simply on the communication infrastructure -- not the financial infrastructure as a typical cyber-criminal might," according to Comodo's incident report.

More clues: The one attack seen so far that used the fraudulent certificates targeted an ISP in Iran. Furthermore, looking at all of the issued certificates, "the domains targeted would be of greatest use to a government attempting surveillance of Internet use by dissident groups," said Comodo's Phillip Hallam-Baker in a blog post.

Then again, it could be a diversion. "While the involvement of two IP addresses assigned to Iranian ISPs is suggestive of an origin, this may be the result of an attacker attempting to lay a false trail," he said. But on the other hand, "the perpetrator can only make use of these certificates if it had control of the DNS infrastructure."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Five Things Every Business Executive Should Know About Cybersecurity
Don't get lost in security's technical minutiae - a clearer picture of what's at stake can help align business imperatives with technology execution.
Flash Poll
Dark Reading Strategic Security Report: The Impact of Enterprise Data Breaches
Dark Reading Strategic Security Report: The Impact of Enterprise Data Breaches
Social engineering, ransomware, and other sophisticated exploits are leading to new IT security compromises every day. Dark Reading's 2016 Strategic Security Survey polled 300 IT and security professionals to get information on breach incidents, the fallout they caused, and how recent events are shaping preparations for inevitable attacks in the coming year. Download this report to get a look at data from the survey and to find out what a breach might mean for your organization.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Security researchers are finding that there's a growing market for the vulnerabilities they discover and persistent conundrum as to the right way to disclose them. Dark Reading editors will speak to experts -- Veracode CTO and co-founder Chris Wysopal and HackerOne co-founder and CTO Alex Rice -- about bug bounties and the expanding market for zero-day security vulnerabilities.