In light of all the discussions about maintaining a secure posture on trusted certificates we often times forget about the little guys. In this case I’m talking about our mobile devices. We tend to forget that these devices are just as vulnerable as our desktop/laptops. Unfortunately it’s not always easy to manage the certificates on these devices. But if you own an Android device and would like to take a little more control over what your device is trusting read on to find out how you can do it.
edited September 2 with an update on Apple/Safari. Another case of a certification authority (CA) issuing a certificate they never should have has surfaced. You may remember when we discussed the Comodo incident earlier this year. Now, a certificate issued by DigiNotar has surfaced in the wild, being valid for *.google.com – meaning it could be used to secure any transaction with any Google web property, including GMail. According to this pastebin post, this certificate “is being used in the wild against real people in Iran *right* now.” DigiNotar has issued a statement. Here is some information about why this is bad, and what steps you should take to remove this issuer from your trust lists.
We talk a lot about how SSL is useful, but how exactly does it work? Most systems today use SSL v3/TLS v1 rather than “SSL”, and the nitty gritty details are found in RFC 2246. However, that’s only part of what goes on, and certificate validation and path building (RFC 4158) and X.509 certificates (RFC 5280) are also important. This post is only concerned with the SSL/TLS protocol itself, and when the other RFCs are needed “magic happens.” If you’re interested, I highly recommend reading through the RFCs. I do assume that you’ve got basic certificate and PKI knowledge while reading this. If you don’t, Mike wrote a great series on it.
A while back I posted about my and others’ concerns about Firefox’s newly handled way of dealing with self-signed or unapproved certificates. It seems the folks over at Carnegie Mellon University have released an extension for Firefox to help deal with this exact issue. My main issue with my last posting wasn’t directly tied to the error in the security model Firefox was introducing, but simply the intrusion factor of what was taking place, and the lack of information that FF was providing when denying access to the site. The extension provides two primary benefits: If you connect to a website with an untrusted certificate (e.g., a self-signed certificate), Firefox will give you a very nasty security error and force[…]
Many people have been praising Mozilla’s Firefox 3 ever since pre-beta. I can easily throw myself onto that band wagon, but there is one feature that has been causing a little commotion, and I again can easily agree with the commotion. Firefox 3 (FF3) limits usable, encrypted (SSL) web sites to those that have an approved digital certificate from an authorized vendor of Mozilla’s choosing, making it so you have to pay to be recognized. What’s the big deal? When you visit an encrypted site in FF3, and that site uses a self-signed or simply unapproved certificate, FF3 doesn’t immediately show the page. Instead, you are greeted with what, at first glance, would seem to be an error page. In[…]