Archive for the ‘TLS’ Category

A world of hurt after GoDaddy, Apple, and Google misissue >1 million certificates

March 12th, 2019
A world of hurt after GoDaddy, Apple, and Google misissue >1 million certificates

Enlarge (credit: Internet1.jpg by Rock1997 modified)

A major operational error by GoDaddy, Apple, and Google has resulted in the issuance of at least 1 million browser-trusted digital certificates that don’t comply with binding industry mandates. The number of non-compliant certificates may be double that number, and other browser-trusted authorities are also likely to be affected.

The snafu is the result of the companies' misconfiguration of the open source EJBCA software package that many browser-trusted authorities use to generate certificates that secure websites, encrypt email, and digitally sign code. By default, EJBCA generated certificates with 64-bit serial numbers, in keeping, it seemed, with an industry mandate that serial numbers contain 64 bits of output from a secure pseudo-random number generator. Upon further scrutiny, engineers discovered that one of the 64 bits must be a fixed value to ensure the serial number is a positive integer. As a result, the EJBCA default produced a serial number with 63 bits of entropy.

The 63 bits is far off the mark of the required 64 bits and, as such, poses a theoretically unacceptable risk to the entire ecosystem. (Practically speaking, there’s almost no chance of the certificates being maliciously exploited. More about that later.) Adam Caudill, the security researcher who blogged about the mass misissuance last weekend, pointed out that it’s easy to think that a difference of 1 single bit would be largely inconsequential when considering numbers this big. In fact, he said, the difference between 263 and 264 is more than 9 quintillion.

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Posted in Biz & IT, digital Certificate, TLS, transport layer security | Comments (0)

Sennheiser discloses monumental blunder that cripples HTTPs on PCs and Macs

November 28th, 2018
Sennheiser discloses monumental blunder that cripples HTTPs on PCs and Macs

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Audio device maker Sennheiser has issued a fix for a monumental software blunder that makes it easy for hackers to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks that cryptographically impersonate any big-name website on the Internet. Anyone who has ever used the company’s HeadSetup for Windows or macOS should take action immediately, even if users later uninstalled the app.

To allow Sennheiser headphones and speaker phones to work seamlessly with computers, HeadSetup establishes an encrypted Websocket with a browser. It does this by installing a self-signed TLS certificate in the central place an operating system reserves for storing browser-trusted certificate authority roots. In Windows, this location is called the Trusted Root CA certificate store. On Macs, it’s known as the macOS Trust Store.

A few minutes to find, years to exploit

The critical HeadSetup vulnerability stems from a self-signed root certificate installed by version 7.3 of the app that kept the private cryptographic key in a format that could be easily extracted. Because the key was identical for all installations of the software, hackers could use the root certificate to generate forged TLS certificates that impersonated any HTTPS website on the Internet. Although the self-signed certificates were blatant forgeries, they will be accepted as authentic on computers that store the poorly secured certificate root. Even worse, a forgery defense known as certificate pinning would do nothing to detect the hack.

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Posted in audio, Biz & IT, encryption, HTTPS, Sennheiser, Superfish, TLS, transport layer security | Comments (0)

Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla come together to end TLS 1.0

October 16th, 2018
A green exterior door is sealed with a padlock.

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Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla have announced a unified plan to deprecate the use of TLS 1.0 and 1.1 early in 2020.

TLS (Transport Layer Security) is used to secure connections on the Web. TLS is essential to the Web, providing the ability to form connections that are confidential, authenticated, and tamper-proof. This has made it a big focus of security research, and over the years, a number of bugs that had significant security implications have been found in the protocol. Revisions have been published to address these flaws.

The original TLS 1.0, heavily based on Netscape's SSL 3.0, was first published in January 1999. TLS 1.1 arrived in 2006, while TLS 1.2, in 2008, added new capabilities and fixed these security flaws. Irreparable security flaws in SSL 3.0 saw support for that protocol come to an end in 2014; the browser vendors now want to make a similar change for TLS 1.0 and 1.1.

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Posted in apple, browsers, chrome, EDGE, Firefox, google, microsoft, Mozilla, Safari, security, standards, Tech, TLS | Comments (0)