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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/7/2011
06:27 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

EFF Uncovers Evidence Of Certificate Authority Apathy

Electronic Frontier Foundation research digs up 37,244 'unqualified' names that were given digital certificates

In yet another example of a flawed SSL website certificate registration process, researchers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) found tens of thousands of unqualified website names that had been registered by certificate authorities.

The EFF via its SL Observatory project, which studies all of the certificates used to secure all HTTPS websites, discovered some 37,244 "unqualified" names that had been given digital certificates, including "localhost" (2,201 certificates), "exchange" (806), "exchange" in the name (2,383), and "01srvech" (5,657).

The recent hack of a Comodo SSL reseller and the subsequent issuance of nine website certificates for fraudulent sites was a painful wake-up call for a process that security researchers had long been warning was deeply flawed and ripe for exploitation.

Comodo's model of letting resellers freely issue certificates on their own, without Comodo's validation, was at the heart of the hack, security experts say.

The EFF research highlights how CAs routinely sign certificates for unqualified website names. "That they do so in large numbers indicates that they do not even minimally validate the certificates they sign. This significantly undermines CAs’ claim to be trustworthy authorities for internet names. It also puts internet users at increased risk of network attack," blogged Chris Palmer, technology director at the EFF.

Signing website certificates registering as "localhost" indicates that CAs aren't vetting these submissions. "The most common unqualified name is 'localhost,' which always refers to your own computer! It simply makes no sense for a public CA to sign a certificate for this private name," Palmer said.

This lax process leaves the door open for attackers to wage man-in-the-middle attacks, he said. "The bad behavior of CAs helps attackers," he said.

The EFF called for CAs to stop signing unqualified name submissions and to revoke certificates that were issued for any unqualified names. "They should also stop signing IP addresses -- especially private, nonroutable addresses -- and should revoke existing IP address certificates, too," EFF's Palmer said.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. 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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...