Vulnerabilities / Threats
1/4/2013
05:55 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera Block Unauthorized Digital Certificate

Google alert prompts other browser vendors to block rogue digital certificates.

Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera took steps Thursday to block two unauthorized digital certificates from Turktrust, a Turkish certificate authority, one of which appears to have been used to intercept online communications.

The "intermediate" certificates in question, explained Michael Coates, Mozilla director of security assurance, in a blog post, can be used to conduct a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. In so doing, the certificate holder could intercept and access communication on his or her network between a user and any website.

"Such certificates could deceive users into trusting websites appearing to originate from the domain owners, but actually containing malicious content or software," said Coates.

Coates expressed concern that one of the certificates "was used for MITM traffic management of domain names that the customer did not legitimately own or control."

[ Learn more about digital certificates. Read Expired Digital Certificates: A Management Challenge. ]

Microsoft put it more bluntly, stating in its security advisory that it "is aware of active attacks using one fraudulent digital certificate issued by [certificate authority] Turktrust."

Opera's Sigbjorn Vig however was more cautious in his assessment, noting that "the google.com certificate was automatically issued by an over-zealous firewall/proxy, and not used fraudulently in any manner."

Google blocked the two certificates in Chrome browsers last month because it detected one of them being used to impersonate the "*.google.com" domain. It then notified other browser vendors about the issue.

Apple has not yet made a public statement about the incident.

Turktrust said in a statement that the relevant certificates have been revoked and that it has identified the source of the problem, a unique situation the company insists, without providing details. "There is also no evidence of any attack or hacking attempt on our systems, as well as no implication of any malicious usage," the company insisted.

Nonetheless, the incident underscores the fragility of the Internet's trust architecture and offers a reminder of past certificate problems like the hacking of now-defunct certificate authority DigiNotar. Risks include not only the possibility that malicious individuals or groups could misuse digital certificates to intercept online communications but also the possibility that governments could compel local certificate authorities to issue intermediate certificates to facilitate mass online eavesdropping.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Five Emerging Security Threats - And What You Can Learn From Them
At Black Hat USA, researchers unveiled some nasty vulnerabilities. Is your organization ready?
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.