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Attacks/Breaches

9/8/2011
10:41 PM
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GlobalSign: Hacker's Claims 'Represent An Industrywide Attack'

Meanwhile, Mozilla lays down the law for its CAs in wake of possible massive CA attacks

The DigiNotar breach saga continues to unfold, with the hacker who has claimed responsibility for the attack boasting that he has hacked at least three more certificate authorities (CAs) in addition to Comodo back in March, and most recently DigiNotar and GlobalSign.

"I have access to their entire server, got DB backups, their linux / tar gzipped and downloaded, I even have private key of their OWN globalsign.com domain, hahahaa).... BUT YOU HAVE TO HEAR SO MUCH MORE! SO MUCH MORE! At least 3 more, AT LEAST! Wait and see, just wait a little bit like I said in Comodo case," he wrote in a Pastebin post. He goes by "ComodoHacker."

Meanwhile, CA GlobalSign is taking his comments seriously. "We deem these claims to represent an industrywide attack," GlobalSign posted on its website yesterday. "At this time we continue with our investigation and precautionary measures. We thank our customers, and the industry as a whole, for supporting the difficult decision to halt issuance while these steps are taken."

GlobalSign today said its CA root was created offline and "has always been offline."

"Any claim of the ComodoHacker to holding a private key does not refer to the GlobalSign offline root CA. The investigation also continues," the company said in a post on its website.

Mozilla, meanwhile, today ordered CAs participating in the Mozilla root program to contact the organization "immediately" in the event of a breach or fraudulently issued certificate.

"Mozilla recently removed the DigiNotar root certificate in response to their failure to promptly detect, contain, and notify Mozilla of a security breach regarding their root and subordinate certificates (https://blog.mozilla.com/security/2011/09/02/diginotar-removal-follow-up). If you ever have reason to suspect a security breach or mis-issuance has occurred at your CA or elsewhere, please contact [email protected] immediately," wrote Kathleen Wilson, module owner of Mozilla's CA Certificates Module.

The CAs must audit their PKI for breaches, including those of any of their third-party CAs. They also must confirm that they employ multifactor authentication in systems and accounts that can issue certificates, according to Mozilla.

Meanwhile, GlobalSign will begin to resume issuing certificates on Monday, and has enlisted the help of the Dutch security firm Fox-IT, which has been working on the DigiNotar breach. "Fox-IT is the Dutch cybersecurity experts hired to investigate the compromise of the Dutch CA DigiNotar and therefore already have a wealth of current knowledge and experience of the hacker," GlobalSign said. The CA said it hired the firm as a "precautionary measure."

Meanwhile, ComodoHacker said in his post that while this attack was limited to Iran, he plans to do the same in Israel, the U.S., and Europe. He also dismissed speculation over how he hacked the CAs. "Just know it is the most sophisticated hack of all time," he wrote.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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