Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

12/30/2008
04:57 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

The (Not Quite) End Of Security On The Internet

Speaking at the 25th annual Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, security researchers showed how they developed a rogue (forged) Certificate Authority digital certificate. Yes, this is a big deal. But no, the Internet isn't broken.

Speaking at the 25th annual Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, security researchers showed how they developed a rogue (forged) Certificate Authority digital certificate. Yes, this is a big deal. But no, the Internet isn't broken.Generally speaking, a certificate authority is the trusted source that signs digital certificates (such as SSL certificates), kind of like a notary does in the physical world. That's why, when you're at www.mybankingsite.com, you'll see a lock in your browser. This should mean that the Web site actually is www.mybankingsite.com and that your Web traffic is being sent to that site through a secured communications tunnel.

But as colleague Mike Fratto explains in his post "Yes, Trust In The PKI Is Broken," this new research shows that forging digital certificates is possible and practical.

This is a heavy-duty attack, but there's no new imminent risk to the security of your Web browsing. For now, just use common sense and don't click on links to important Web sites sent to you; manually type in your URL or use your bookmarks. If this vulnerability is exploited, it will probably be used, at least initially, for phishing attacks to steal credentials such as user names/passwords, Social Security numbers, and banking information.

Also, this vulnerability relies on exploiting vulnerabilities in the cryptographic algorithm known as MD5, and this algorithm is already being phased out for a newer scheme known as SHA-1. Today's news will expedite the switch. Which is good.

But don't buy into any the hype that trust on the Internet is doomed (well, no more than it currently is). In the past decade the end of the Internet has been predicted many times, including the famous denial-of-service attacks in 2000, the ASN.1 vulnerability in 2004, and the combined TCP injection vulnerability used in conjunction with a flaw in the Border Gateway Protocol - also in 2004. And who could forget Dan Kaminsky's DNS cache poisoning flaw of earlier this year? All important attacks or vulnerabilities, for certain, but none made a huge impact on the Internet.

My prediction: neither will this.

Here are a few other links you may find helpful in putting all of this together:

  • Brian Krebs' story from the WashingtonPost.com this morning.
  • A well-done layperson's explanation of the flaw at the Security Uncorked blog.
  • And another analysis conducted by Rich Mogull at Securosis.com.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-16632
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-15
A XSS Vulnerability in /uploads/dede/action_search.php in DedeCMS V5.7 SP2 allows an authenticated user to execute remote arbitrary code via the keyword parameter.
CVE-2021-32073
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-15
DedeCMS V5.7 SP2 contains a CSRF vulnerability that allows a remote attacker to send a malicious request to to the web manager allowing remote code execution.
CVE-2021-33033
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The Linux kernel before 5.11.14 has a use-after-free in cipso_v4_genopt in net/ipv4/cipso_ipv4.c because the CIPSO and CALIPSO refcounting for the DOI definitions is mishandled, aka CID-ad5d07f4a9cd. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2021-33034
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
In the Linux kernel before 5.12.4, net/bluetooth/hci_event.c has a use-after-free when destroying an hci_chan, aka CID-5c4c8c954409. This leads to writing an arbitrary value.
CVE-2019-25044
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-14
The block subsystem in the Linux kernel before 5.2 has a use-after-free that can lead to arbitrary code execution in the kernel context and privilege escalation, aka CID-c3e2219216c9. This is related to blk_mq_free_rqs and blk_cleanup_queue.