[Cryptography] "Trust in digital certificate ecosystem eroding"

Ray Dillinger bear at sonic.net
Mon May 4 17:50:01 EDT 2015

On 05/01/2015 10:39 PM, Christian Huitema wrote:
>>> to solve a problem that wasn't obvious about 20 years
>>> ago when the system got introduced.
>> I'm pretty sure this problem was obvious 20 years ago.
> There have been attacks that hacked or abused CA privileges. But most of the attacks follow a simpler path -- tricking or convincing the user to add a particular CA to the root store of their device, or browser. Many corporations do that -- add the local firewall's certificate to the root store of corporate-owned machines, so they can break the encryption and encrypt the traffic at the firewall. Many schools will force a certificate like that on the student's computer, as a condition for using the school's network. Some ISP and hot spots are rumored to do it. 

Absolutely true.  I worked for several years at a company
where all the machines on the local network had installed
versions of browsers etc that knew exactly one root CA -
which was managed by the company's firewall.

Literally all encrypted traffic was decrypted "for log
maintenance purposes" at the firewall, re-encrypted and
sent onward to the machines on the company network.  All
requests for a certificate were intercepted at the firewall
and got a certificate auto-issued by the firewall's own CA,
which it would then use to re-encrypt that traffic.

All this of course was done in the name of "security..."


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