Thursday, December 1, 2016

TLS/SSL certificates alternatives

A problem exist in any modern browser  & mainly with the idiot  behind the  keyboard.

We are all humans! and trusting by nature !

Since most people don't understand SSL/TLS,  muchness what a x.509 certificate does,  they do stupid things that  that put them at risk do to the trusty nature.

  • How many times have we see a browser side error and click thru -it?
  • Do we even know what those errors mean?
  •  Do we even bother to investigate it ?
for 7 out of 10 I would say no to all of the above questions

Most individuals in a IT environment have no clue and then we expect the end-user  to understand  it all.

In the big CentralAuthority  aka CA  pyramid,  "  we put a lot of trust in  the CA , and Intermediates, and the server certificates ".

A client ( end-user ) that see  a HTTPS as  the URL protocol and assume they are 100% secured and protected but have little to no info to even determine if there's a MiTM or  even  if the site is really that site.

We see this everyday with  various phishing  attacks and rogue sites that are populated across  the internet.

The sovereign key concept should be taken more seriously and ridding site dependencies from a central Authority.

( you can read more about the proposal );a=blob_plain;f=sovereign-key-design.txt;hb=master

The goal w/sovereignkeys is to  apply  truth  to  the certificate via timeline,  and new key concept append for the certificate validation.

Take my day job, they are running internal users thru a proxy and the end-users has no clue that a "proxy" and  the certificate is really not the "real site" , but again they see the   http lock icon and  think all is good and they are 100% safe.

With sovereign keys, every web HTTPS proxy would be broken . Since we can have hundreds of CAs any one could be trusted by the end-user ( the browser ) , any could  forge a certificate and the end-user would not be any wiser that the site is really not that site .

We need a means for validating the website  certificate and for just  that site.  With sovereign key we can really validate the site  we are connecting with ,  and break the dependency of just trusting the CA and the certificate presented by the website.

Just food for thought when your on a foreign-network and think your connecting to that site . Remember some one somewhere could be peeking.

Ken Felix

NSE ( network security expert) and Route/Switching Engineer
kfelix  -----a----t---- socpuppets ---dot---com

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