Hackers exploit chink in Web's armor

    Date24 Mar 2011
    CategoryCryptography
    4109
    Posted ByAlex
    A long-known but little-discussed vulnerability in the modern Internet's design was highlighted yesterday by a report that hackers traced to Iran spoofed the encryption procedures used to secure connections to Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other major Web sites. This design, pioneered by Netscape in the early and mid-1990s, allows the creation of encrypted channels to Web sites, an important security feature typically identified by a closed lock icon in a browser. The system relies on third parties to issue so-called certificates that prove that a Web site is legitimate when making an "https://" connection.

    The problem, however, is that the list of certificate issuers has ballooned over the years to approximately 650 organizations, which may not always follow the strictest security procedures. And each one has a copy of the Web's master keys.

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