Research

Technical Report Results

Technical Report TR684:
Certified Lies: Detecting and Defeating Government Interception Attacks Against SSL

Christopher Soghoian and Sid Stamm
(Apr 2010), 20 Pages
[Under submission (not accepted yet)]
Abstract:
This paper introduces the compelled certificate creation attack, in which government agencies may compel a certificate authority to issue false SSL certificates that can be used by intelligence agencies to covertly intercept and hijack individuals' secure Web-based communications. Although we do not have direct evidence that this form of active surveillance is taking place in the wild, we show how products already on the market are geared and marketed towards this kind of use---suggesting such attacks may occur in the future, if they are not already occurring. Finally, we introduce a lightweight browser add-on that detects and thwarts such attacks.

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