Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Nov 2013 23:46 UTC
Internet & Networking

"We can end government censorship in a decade," Schmidt said during a speech in Washington. "The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything."

Setting aside the entertaining aspect of the source of said statement, I don't think encryption in and of itself is enough. Encryption performed by companies is useless, since we know by now that companies - US or otherwise - are more than eager to bend over backwards to please their governments.

What we need is encryption that we perform ourselves, so that neither governments nor companies are involved. I imagine some sort of box between your home network and the internet, that encrypts and decrypts everything, regardless of source or destination. This box obviously needs to run open source software, otherwise we'd be right back where we started.

Is something like that even possible?

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RE[4]: Comment by pcunite
by Lennie on Sun 24th Nov 2013 18:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by pcunite"
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

On the issue of browser support.

Bad support in (desktop) browsers is a thing of the past, I've not seen issues in a long time.

There are probably still problems on mobile though, but even those are going away.

If you are a provider, you really do pay only 10 euros per cert per year, maybe even 10 dollars. This isn't just some cheap provider that doesn't work. That is from the widely known CAs.

https://www.startssl.com/ is the one that is free and supported by all browsers.

On the issue of insecure email...

Yep, that is what domain validation is. It's just a check if you control the domain. I've never seen a CA use insecure HTTP though.

It really doesn't matter if you pay some CA more money or not. Because the user doesn't look at the CA, it just needs to be trusted by the browser.

If someone can prove they control your domain to an other browser supported CA then they'll get a cert for your domain. There is really nothing special about the different CAs. Any CA will do.

There are some other issues that do matter, like OCSP performance. Or the root included by default in Windows. But especially the last one doesn't matter all that much if it's a widely used CA.

If you want something more, you might want EV but you'll need to educate your users to look for the 'green bar' and not use the site if it's not there.

In many, many cases, for example something like Facebook that obviously doesn't work, when they visit the site they'll probably already sent the auto-login-cookie which an attacker can use to login in to your site.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by pcunite
by Alfman on Sun 24th Nov 2013 20:19 in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by pcunite"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Lennie,

"If you are a provider, you really do pay only 10 euros per cert per year, maybe even 10 dollars. This isn't just some cheap provider that doesn't work. That is from the widely known CAs."

I honestly haven't seen them anywhere for quite that low. Big brands are still expensive, for example thwate's cheapest domain cert is still $150/yr, verisign too. Although many of us don't care for premium brand status, most other CAs seem to be in the $50-70/year range (ie instantssl, rapidssl, godaddy). I really needed to shop around to find a reseller for $14 (RunSSL), which is the cheapest price I've seen other than free trials. All these prices are for the basic domain validation certs.

I'm very surprised StartSSL is now offering domain certs for free, this is news to me and it doesn't appear to be a trial offer. Thanks for mentioning it!


"Yep, that is what domain validation is. It's just a check if you control the domain."

I realize that, however isn't it ironic that they are contacting you through channels that are vulnerable to the same kind of man in the middle attack that their certs are supposed to protect against? There are a few high profile cases where a CA issued certs to a fraudulent party, I wonder how often this happens to small guys without detection or making the news?


"If someone can prove they control your domain to an other browser supported CA then they'll get a cert for your domain. There is really nothing special about the different CAs. Any CA will do."

This is why I said that *everyone's* SSL security gets reduced to the security of the weakest CA. It's even technically plausible that some CA's could be a front for a government operation with the intention of issuing fraudulent CA's to the government. We implicitly have to trust the CA's, yet nothing makes them inherently trustworthy.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by pcunite
by Lennie on Sun 24th Nov 2013 20:56 in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by pcunite"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

So I work at a hosting provider. RapidSSL from GeoTrust and EssentialSSL from Comodo are really 10 and 13 euros (a little over 13 and 17,5 dollars).

StartSSL is cool. But selling free certs to customers feels a bit weird. ;-) Also the free certs display an email address in the cert-name, they call it a 'personal cert' (slightly unusual, but works).

StartSSL is cool because they do things like: if you certify your organization you can get unlimited certs for all your domains. Including SAN/UCC and wildcard.

That is 118 dollars for 2 years of free certs.

Governments yes, lots of fun there too. Look up the CNNIC controversy. There are over 1500 CAs that your browser trusts (indirectly) says the SSL observatory.

Do YOU trust them ? All of them ? ;-)

Anyway, summary, always remember: certs is a race to the bottom. EV-certs only exist because the normal certificates became only domain verified certs. They used to be validated like the EV-certs are now.

Reply Parent Score: 2