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Twitter Joins the HTTPS By Default Party

CmdrTaco posted more than 2 years ago | from the encrypted-packets-are-better dept.

Privacy 95

wiredmikey writes "Following a trend in allowing users to automatically utilize the secure HTTPS protocol when accessing Web based services, Twitter announced this week that it has added the option for users to force HTTPS connections by default when accessing Twitter.com. The reasons to utilize HTTPS when accessing any personal accounts aren't new, but an easy to use extension for FireFox called 'FireSheep,' released in October 2010, spiked concern, as it enables HTTP session hijacking for the masses."

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95 comments

Good (3, Informative)

Tukz (664339) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503084)

I''d like to see all community sites do that.

I got an addon that tries to force SSL where available, and it's surprising so many sites that doesn't have SSL enabled at all.

Re:Good (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503444)

Simple tools like FireSheep are an awesome way to force websites to up their game on the encryption front and improve their security.

I guess the addon you mention is EFF's "https-everywhere [eff.org]". Notice that the list of https sites the addon supports is growing pretty large. They will soon have to add the option "exclude these sites" rather than try and provide a massive list of included sites.

Re:Good (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503516)

Yesterday my host provider (a big one) failed (again!) to renew the shared server host certificate so I couldn't access their Cpanel via HTTPS, so had to open a ticket.

That happened in 2008, 2009, 2010, and now, so I'm expecting the same situation by march 2012, 2013, etc...

BTW, they sell me a signed certificate for my domain. Alas, they don't track its expiration (nor me, of course!) so by some time in the year I'll have to open a ticket asking them to renew it (no big deal since I'm not doing e-business or similar.)

Obviously these aren't good practices, but I see a design failure in the scheme. The security should degrade in a better way.

Re:Good (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504404)

I've never not been able to do something because an SSL certificate had expired. I get a warning from my browser, that's all. It's odd that you weren't able to function.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35507056)

If you're running client authentication I believe that all certs involved need to be fully valid. If you're only doing one-way authentication I think you'll get the error you're talking about.

Re:Good (1)

AnEducatedNegro (1372687) | more than 2 years ago | (#35505654)

i run a popular site. the question is why should i enable ssl and thus need to expand my server farm to expend resources that you should spend for your own daily browsing?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35511342)

>>>AnEducatedNegro
NO SUCH THING. Nigger.

Re:Good (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 3 years ago | (#35524758)

If your site doesn't expect me to login, register, provide any content or interact with it in any way that is not completely passive, then that is perfectly fine.

Otherwise: why should I bother interacting with your site in a less passive manner than simple browsing, if you can't be bothered to enable SSL? Enabling SSL is not difficult, does not generally cause a massive amount of extra load on modern systems (if your site is relatively dynamic then your scripting language and database will be much much more significant bottlenecks on a well designed site), and is not expensive these days (cheap SSL certs are now actually cheap and there are a number of free-for-a-year offers to be found at the moment).

Why should I do X so you can Y can work both ways.

Re:Good (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#35506208)

I got an addon that tries to force SSL where available, and it's surprising so many sites that doesn't have SSL enabled at all.

Well, SSL is not free in any sense. There's some amount of overhead simply in the encryption, of course. If you're running multiple sites from one machine (read: any shared hosting plan), you need a dedicated IP per SSL site* which costs extra. Then there's the cost of the certificate itself**, and the initial process of setting it up. And once you have the technical side of things configured, you still need to make sure that ALL resources on the page are coming in over https as well, which is easier said than done especially if you rely on any third-party scripts (primarily analytics).

Don't get me wrong - I would love to have everything on the internet running over SSL. But under the current infrastructure, it's simply not practical. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as flipping a switch.

* There's some weird multi-domain certificate chaining thing you can do to avoid this, but it's not fully cross-browser compatible and is a huge pain to set up. Granted it's not an easy problem to solve unless you want to spew out certificates for all sites listening on that IP (thereby exposing all sites listening on that IP, never mind the overhead), but it still sucks. Bring on IPv6 already so I don't have to pay an extra two bucks a month per IP per server - it's fine for my "real" sites, but that's not happening for all of my personal sites sitting on a single $11/mo cloud server.

** Yes, I'm aware of StartSSL and other services that provide free basic certs. Most people are not. Self-signing is fine from a security standpoint (or, at least, good enough for the types of sites that would use it), but with all of the browser warnings that come along with it, rather impractical.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35507628)

The reason so few sites support SSL is because It can be expensive to buy an SSL Certificate (Depending on your budget).

I'm currently in the process of moving one of my project sites to use SSL for authentication & account management. My client isn't very happy about the additional incurred cost of roughly $90/yr.

What's the penalty for HTTPS? (3, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503168)

Back some years ago, there was talk about dedicated SSL hardware. What's the performance penalty for HTTPS anymore?

Say you're a small startup running your "the next Twitter" app on a Xen or OpenVZ VPS instance.

What's the hit for HTTPS?

Any thoughts on HTTPS only for the login page, or for all pages?

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503260)

Any thoughts on HTTPS only for the login page, or for all pages?

You can just steal the session cookie after login, so just doing the login page is almost useless. It prevents the attacker from learning the password and re-entering the system, but a) he can change the password and b) there is no reason he wouldn't get the job done within one session.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (4, Informative)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503312)

Most sites expect you to enter the current password to be able to change it, even if you are logged in.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503332)

True for the sessionjacking.

Thinking out loud: I'd think a way to prevent password changes would be to require you to enter the old password in order to change the password, like passwd does.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503342)

You shouldn't let a user change their password without entering their current password. Specifically to prevent things such as this. Even if you have already authenticated the user, you should require them to re-enter their password in order to change it. Although I' agree with you that a lot could be done in a single session.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504752)

Any thoughts on HTTPS only for the login page, or for all pages?

You can just steal the session cookie after login, so just doing the login page is almost useless. It prevents the attacker from learning the password and re-entering the system, but a) he can change the password and b) there is no reason he wouldn't get the job done within one session.

And that's what FireSheep does. If it can't steal login credentials, it steals session cookies (which will be sent in the clear). Most sites already do the whole "HTTPS for login" thing.

Now, session cookies can be time limited (but the server will have to enforce it), but again, there's no guarantees the attacker can't do what they need to do in one session.

The only real way to prevent session hijacking would be to logout of the site when done, but that just means the attacker has less time to do their deed since the session cookie is still valid for the duration.

Perhaps an option is to have session cookies change every use, and if someone uses an old cookie then a warning is shown that they need to log in again. An attacker has to be fast enough to use that cookie and the user clueless enough to keep entering their password. On the same IP, if it happens multiple times, then the account can be temporarily locked out...

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507506)

All that is just polishing the turds. Or at least reinventing a mediocre replacement for a proper wheel.

Just use HTTPS for everything. One certificate per year is certainly cheaper than one person-day for IT staff trying to implement a workaround. Buy cert (or get a StartSSL free one), install cert, behold a safe website.

With governments, companies, data miners growing greedier every day, plaintext is going the way of the dodo. Only a few bearded Internet founders still believe in the good of mankind to send their traffic unencrypted.

If Facebook can do it for their free network on a true planetary scale, so can you. The age of lame excuses is over.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (4, Informative)

hart (51418) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503288)

There's still a performance hit for SSL. Solutions for that include load balancers with dedicated hardware SSL support. As for what the performance hit is, try this: http://serverfault.com/questions/43692/how-much-of-a-performance-hit-for-https-vs-http-for-apache [serverfault.com] Re: HTTPS all vs. only on login page - as the recent Facebook session hijacking proved, it's the session cookies in cleartext that are the security problem - it doesn't sniff your password, it steals your session cookies to access your account. HTTPs should be on everything, IMHO. Cheers Leigh

SSL performance for high bandwith applications (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504198)

There's still a performance hit for SSL. Solutions for that include load balancers with dedicated hardware SSL support.

Back when Usenet providers starting offering full SSL transfers, I remember reading that one of the reasons they were charging more for it (at the time) was because SSL transfers saw a 400% increase in required CPU power on the back end.

Nowadays though, SSL seems to come by default in most offerings I've seen.

Re:SSL performance for high bandwith applications (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#35506266)

400%? That doesn't sound right. Maybe we've improved our algorithms significantly since then, but I tend to hear anywhere from "rounding error" (probably hardware support) to 30-40% increase.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504242)

Damn, I had mod points last week.. That serverfault link was very informative but what I expected.. If you have a large site you are really going to want to have SSL accelerated load balancers in front of your web servers... The load is substantial.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

SamSim (630795) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503304)

Any thoughts on HTTPS only for the login page, or for all pages?

All pages. When you log in to begin with, if the login page is HTTPS then your username and password are encrypted. This is good, because it means nobody else can snoop your password and log in as you later. You are then sent back a cookie. Later, when you want to prove that you are logged in, you just send the cookie along with the HTTP request. Of course, if all the other pages are not encrypted, then the cookie is sent in the clear, which allows anybody to collect it and use it. So, obviously, any request sending a cookie should be sent encrypted too, which means that all pages should be HTTPS.

This is an extremely obvious and trivially-fixed security vulnerability. The fact that so few sites bother to fix it is disappointing indeed.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

wiredmikey (1824622) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503306)

Compaqt, because of HTTP of session hijacking works over unsecured wireless connections, it's important to use SSL beyond just the login. So even during the login process when the password is submitted, once a session is established, the session can be hijacked.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503560)

What's the performance penalty for HTTPS anymore?

The words you're looking for are "these days". Screw the living language / regional dialect excuse.

The substitution with "anymore" more often than not doesn't work.

Cases in which it works:

  • You just can't get regular Coke anymore.
  • Doesn't anybody listen to Belgian jazz anymore?
  • I don't know anymore.

I.e. negative statements.

Cases in which it doesn't work:

  • Kids are just too spoiled anymore.
  • Anymore Apple is dominating the tablet market.
  • What's the performance penalty for HTTPS anymore?

Case that should get you shot if you ever use it, or similar:

  • Who's counting anymore these days?

For more information and potential exculpation, see: http://positiveanymore.blogspot.com/2005/11/positive-anymore-what-heck-does-that.html [blogspot.com]

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (2)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503612)

Pretty much the only real penalty for https is browser shittiness. If your identity isn't certified by a recognized CA, all the major browsers incorrectly treat your site, relative to http, as having a higher (rather than lower) risk of .. something .. so they try to scare the user with vague error messages that, even if the messages were appropriate, mislead the user rather than inform. So the penalty is that you have to pay someone to sign you.

As for the computations, it's 2011 so CPU is so close to "free" that it can hardly be measured. Your cellphone is a supercomputer, and anything that comes in a box too big for your pocket is a super-supercomputer, and anything that is sold as a "server" or comes in a rack form factor for data centers, is a super super-supercomputer. Encryption is free.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503746)

> Encryption is free.

You're concentrating on the client aspects of SSL, not the server-side.

Take a low-ball estimate of "page size" at 300 kB; all elements of the page have to be encrypted.

Take a low-ball estimate of 10,000 SSL page requests per second per server.

Each server has to encrypt at 3 GB / second just to handle static page requests, let alone dynamic calls to DBs and CMS.

Back to the maths for you!

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#35505742)

Wait a minute, 10k requests per second per server? Highly unlikely. Ever look at those "0.09 seconds" things you get on Google? They used to be all over the place, and I don't think I've ever seen one below 10ms, certainly never below 1ms. You're asking for 100 microseconds to process a page in. On a 3GHz processor, that's 30,000 cycles. If the page is 300kb, you have roughly 1/10th of a cycle to process each byte, which is flat impossible.

But, we know they process more than a byte at a time. A 64-bit machine could do 8 at once using regular instructions, so now we're up to 4/5ths of a cycle per qword. Now we'll assume that there's 8 cores in a server, which should be a reasonable average, if high, and we have a whole 6.4 cycles to work with for every qword.

Let's assume that the SSL is done on another piece of hardware. Can you point out any implementation, on any general-purpose computer in the world, of an HTTP server that can serve even static pages at 6.4 cycles per qword?

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 2 years ago | (#35506064)

I wrote a long post and then realized it was tl;dr. So, I'd instead just like to point out certificates work on a network of trust. If you present a certificate that no one else trusts, why should I? The browser behavior is absolutely the right one. "This guy is presenting a certificate he signed himself. No one I trust trusts him. What should I do?"

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35506174)

The problem is that unencrypted is even worse than an encrypted connection to the wrong person.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (3, Insightful)

shish (588640) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503670)

Speaking as someone in exactly the situation you describe -- running our current site on a small single-core VPS, over HTTP we can serve ~400 static files per second, limited by bandwidth. Using HTTPS, we can serve 10 static files per second, limited by CPU speed. For dynamic pages, the limits are more like 50/sec (limited by CPU) and 5/sec (limited by CPU -- page load times go up a lot as the database and processing are competing with the encryption)

Current plan to deal with this, because we want to be HTTPS by default, is to offload static files to an HTTPS-enabled CDN, and have a front-end reverse proxy or several dedicated to SSL processing -- unless anyone has any better ideas?

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504422)

Wow, a 10:1 ratio, much more than the 2:1 (with caching) using a simple ab test from the serverfault link.

Reading the responses above, I'm thinking that a happy medium is:

-HTTPS for login for free users. Has the risk of sessionjacking
-Ask for old password before changing password or major actions like "delete all"
-HTTPS by default or by option for paid users.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

olau (314197) | about 3 years ago | (#35514544)

Maybe you could use a trick with the domain or path when setting the session cookie so that static files don't get it. Then serve static files over HTTP and only the actual pages over HTTPS.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

shish (588640) | about 3 years ago | (#35516262)

That causes browser warnings about parts of the page being insecure -- in most browsers it means the lock icon in the url bar is broken, which would be just about OK as we can reassure users that their actual data is safe -- but in IE the warning is a giant "THIS SITE HAS SOME UNENCRYPTED BITS. CLICK CONTINUE TO HAVE YOUR BABIES EATEN BY RABID WOLVES" or something like that...

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503720)

Forcing SSL makes any hardware endpoint compression/optimization tools pretty much useless (Look at Riverbed products). You also put more of a strain on anything with smaller MTUs (VPN tunnels, PPPoE, dialup [Yes, it still exists]) or with higher latency (client in China, satellite users).

Additionally, you need one IP address per https website you want to host. This isn't an issue with IPv6 (Yay IPv6) or when using a webserver/client that can use Host headers before the SSL transaction (which all older browsers do NOT support). The main problem is that not everyone has a metric 'shitton' of IPv4 addresses and the software isn't wide spread enough to reliably host multiple SSL websites on a single IP with vhosts.

Now, there are some other circumstances that people will state that isn't really valid IMO. Some people will state that SSL certs cost money. I recently purchased a handful of wildcard certs from StartSSL for $20 (IIRC). The only thing that cost money was the identity check and even that was pretty painless. I highly recommend them for small/medium businesses or individuals. Their root certs are in iOS, Android, RHEL as far back as I cared to check (RHEL 4), Windows, Ubuntu, etc. </slashvertisement>

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504886)

[...] the software isn't wide spread enough to reliably host multiple SSL websites on a single IP with vhosts. [...]

I may be mistaken, but did not Apache introduce this feature in version 2? I have used SSL with name based vhosts quite heavily for years.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#35506658)

Additionally, you need one IP address per https website you want to host. This isn't an issue with IPv6 (Yay IPv6) or when using a webserver/client that can use Host headers before the SSL transaction (which all older browsers do NOT support). The main problem is that not everyone has a metric 'shitton' of IPv4 addresses and the software isn't wide spread enough to reliably host multiple SSL websites on a single IP with vhosts.

Browsers that don't support SNI:

  • IE
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • Chrome try to run an old version of Chrome.

In short, you're safe to use it these days unless you're hosting a legacy app on an internal business server or massive shopping site trying to catch every last Christmas shopper--in either case, IPs are probably the least of your worries.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#35506682)

argh, less-than signs. That should be:

  • IE < 7
  • Firefox < 2
  • Opera < 8
  • Safari < 2
  • Chrome < 6

There was other commentary on there, but it wasn't important.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

dave024 (1204956) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507316)

Also my understanding is that some of those browsers, including IE 7/8, don't support SNI in WIndows XP.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507368)

Well that's news to me. I'd be surprised if any other than IE worked that way, as far as I know there's no mandatory system implementation of HTTP--I know you don't have full access to the IP stack, but that's as far as it goes (I think). Anyway, I'll have to test that out sometime when I have time (unless some enterprising slashdotter tests it out for us), but thanks for the info.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

dave024 (1204956) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507646)

From what I read Google Chrome for Windows XP has the same limitation. Something about using the native OS call for SSL functions. The lack of support for Internet Explorer for Windows XP is a major shortfall for SNI. At my company we can't justify having a site that doesn't work properly in Internet Explorer for XP. I'm sure we aren't unique.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504370)

The latency from the handshake is unavoidable. Otherwise, it is just CPU intensive. SSL/TLS can resume previous sessions, which is a tremendous help.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 2 years ago | (#35505666)

If you want dedicated SSL hardware, just set up a reverse proxy running on a Geode CPU. They can push 200Mbps of AES-128 despite being ancient. Newer Intel stuff has encryption-specific instructions built in so you might not even need a separate box.

Re:What's the penalty for HTTPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35509532)

About 1% CPU overhead. Adam Langley of Google has a great post on this: http://www.imperialviolet.org/2010/06/25/overclocking-ssl.html.

The expensive part of SSL is the public key operations used to set up the connection. The symmetric ciphers used to send the data are very very fast. You should make sure you have Apache KeepAlives enabled, and SSL Session Resumption, since these reduce the number of times you have to set up a connection from scratch. Keep these in mind when looking at your load testing numbers. In practice a single browser will make many requests and you will not have to pay the CPU cost of public key operations on every one.

The hardest part of switching to SSL is fixing any mixed-content issues you may have. If I was building a site from scratch today, I would make it all-SSL by default, which saves you from dealing with any of those issues.

HTTPS by default? Not exactly, Misleading headline (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503200)

Users are required to change this setting themselves, nothing default about it. It's simply an added option

Now Gmail, this is HTTPS by default..
also I read mobile.twitter.com will not even switch to HTTPS? wut.

Smarten up slashdot and editors

Re:HTTPS by default? Not exactly, Misleading headl (2)

wiredmikey (1824622) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503270)

You're right -- It's not SET to default, but users can set the service to use HTTPS by default.The actual title of the article is "Twitter Enables Option for HTTPS by Default" - Though I agree that the /. could have been more clear.

Re:HTTPS by default? Not exactly, Misleading headl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503378)

Additionally, HTTPS cannot be 'forced' on. An SSL connection can be requested, but the ISP's at both ends of the connection can force it back to regular HTTP if they choose.

(Not that any reputable host would, but it was noted that this was the case when Facebook introduced SSL secured connections, and there were concerns about countries where ISP's are at the mercy of questionable governments.)

Re:HTTPS by default? Not exactly, Misleading headl (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503962)

To be fair Gmail started off by giving this as an option, then transitioned to enabling it by default.

Baby steps my friend, baby steps. Allowing the option is actually a really good way to get a good test of the system, you can see exactly how many people enabled it, had difficulties, then disabled it. As long as that number is nearly zero, compared to the number that switched it on and left it, you have some data supporting the move to ssl by default.

I think this is the proper way of handling this.

Re:HTTPS by default? Not exactly, Misleading headl (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 2 years ago | (#35505604)

i searched for "slashdot" in comments. only came up in the middle of the page. i guess geeks must suck at security :)

also, regarding slashdot and https - they probably lack the technical competency to set it up.

YEAH. hope to see https next week, thanks.

hijacking for the masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503204)

The reasons to utilize HTTPS when accessing any personal accounts aren't new, but an easy to use extension for FireFox called "FireSheep," released in October 2010 spiked concern, as it enables HTTP session hijacking for the masses.

Sounds like FUD. Firesheep allows you to eavesdrop on communications on an open wifi network. Not exactly hacking for the masses.

babys/LSI/W+dog/DSF/MDE getting our own websites (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503248)

scary? based on their good intentions, so we've been told. thanks. see you at the play-dates etc...

pre-k math refutes chosen ones' manuals? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503668)

that's right. the book of death chapter (see also; georgia stone) indicates that (much) less than 25% of us are invited to karma nirvana, or even scheduled to survive the arrival of their 'chariots'. it's written in stone (we think they upped the # (of 'them', along the way). the rest of us is who all kind of bad, & even worse stuff happens to?

pee poor math. makes the babys consider fleeing (instinctive), but no, they'll stay here with us. who's counting? the cost so far; absolutely unrepayable(word?), ever, & growing. that's an underestimate.

ALL MOMMYS, GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE MIDDLE EAST, JAPAN, DC, LA, GA, NY, FL ETC.... WE'RE DYING HERE...

Bad idea! (1)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503282)

A big problem I see with this is 1) Twitter isn't carrying important personal data, 2) in fact, quite the opposite, except for login credentials to sign in, and that's always been HTTPS anyway, 3) HTTPS does not cache. We should be encouraging sites to be more cachable and more ISPs to adopt proxies like Squid, not cripple their ability to reduce traffic leaving/entering the network.

Re:Bad idea! (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503374)

Twitter isn't carrying important personal data

Tell that to the people in Libya, China, North Korea (do they have internet?) and other places around the world where the government isn't so easy on people who oppose the regime.

Re:Bad idea! (1)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503794)

Their problem isn't the lack of HTTPS, it's the lack of free speech. Nice scarecrow, though.

Re:Bad idea! (1)

ntk (974) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507382)

I work with independent journalists in this and other at-risk countries, and consult with those seeking to protect activists. While you are perhaps right that the threat is, at heart, one of human rights, protecting those attempting to change or document that situation is also important. And lack of on-the-wire encryption also presents an almost constant temptation to even other countries supposedly better protected by the rule of law. The pervasive data-mining conducted by AT&T on behalf of the NSA is the obvious (and known) example here. I'm sure there are plenty more.

I don't think it's correct to characterise this as a "scarecrow" when a) we have actual evidence of countries using unencrypted communications [cpj.org] to repress critics and protests against the regime, and b) this is a problem that all Internet users potentially face worldwide.

In order to protect and improve free speech and other rights, we need to build systems that are resilient when those rights are under attack.

Easy on people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35506260)

places around the world where the government isn't so easy on people who oppose the regime

The phrase "easy on people" makes it sound like government has some sort of right to employ violence against peaceful opposition. Try "even more violent" instead. It also paints a picture where only "rogue" governments employ violence against opposition, when in fact most of the world's richest superpower governments (including the US) do much of the same. They merely aren't as blatant about it.

North Korean Twitter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35507954)

am being taken to reeducation center for using twitter #thankyoudearleader
2 minutes ago via tin cans connected by string

I hate the Americans and the puppets in Seoul for making us eat a dead mice #younggeneralwillcrushamericans
35 minutes ago via tin cans connected by string

found dead mouse #food #thankyoudearleader
40 minutes ago via tin cans connected by string

HTTPS does cache (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503384)

A big problem I see with this is 1) Twitter isn't carrying important personal data, 2) in fact, quite the opposite, except for login credentials to sign in, and that's always been HTTPS anyway, 3) HTTPS does not cache. We should be encouraging sites to be more cachable and more ISPs to adopt proxies like Squid, not cripple their ability to reduce traffic leaving/entering the network.

HTTPS does cache pages at the browser, it is only middle tier browsers like squid that cannot cache the pages. Of course if you have an interactive site then these will disable caching anyway, you don't want everyone to see your session.

Re:HTTPS does cache (1)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503732)

It's the middle tier that I'm worried about, since most of the bandwidth used by Twitter is for common objects displayed on all pages, like the CSS, the images, etc. These don't change. And most browsers only cache HTTPS for a single session.

Re:HTTPS does cache (2)

goofy183 (451746) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503916)

It is completely up to the site serving the resources. A quick look unsurprisingly shows twitter not being stupid about it and setting the correct headers to get the browser to cache resources served over HTTPS for as long as the browser can. Here are the response headers from getting their logo over HTTPS:

Date Wed, 16 Mar 2011 14:52:00 GMT
Content-Length 1159
Content-Type image/png
Etag "c53472495d431cceef1c715732db12c9"
Expires Wed, 18 May 2033 03:33:20 GMT
Last-Modified Tue, 15 Mar 2011 21:20:55 GMT

Note that it provides both an Etag and a far-future Expires date.

Re:Bad idea! (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503458)

You can steal the session cookie from someone using twitter using an unsecured network (such as a public wifi) - and then spam the crap out of his feed, or change some settings or something.

I'm pretty sure the ability to spoof someone else's twitter to say whatever you want is considered - "Important Personal Data".

Login Credentials aren't needed if you're nicking the cookie - see also : "Firesheep" which is script-kiddie friendly.

Re:Bad idea! (1)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503756)

You can steal the session cookie from someone using twitter using an unsecured network (such as a public wifi) - and then spam the crap out of his feed, or change some settings or something.

Boo hoo. It's Twitter. Who gives a shit? Until you can post more than 140 characters, unless you and your audience speak Korean, Japanese, Cherokee or some other language that uses ideograms or a syllabary instead of an alphabet, it's next to impossible to express a cogent thought on a level higher than "I'm hungry" on Twitter.

Re:Bad idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35504060)

You do realize that Twitter has a private messaging system in place?
Do you remember what the US gov' recently wanted from Twitter?

Re:Bad idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35504468)

Baloo Uriza is a faggot.

There, and I still have many characters to spare! (59)

Other harmful things you could post through twitter:

"Okay, I admit it, I am a pedophile."
"I've been thinking lately... the core KKK values actually did have some merit to them!"
"I've decided to join Islam in the quest against the western infidels."
"Mom, Dad, I think it's time I tell you this... the reason I have never been out on a date with a girl is because I am gay."
"You know... pro-life makes a lot of sense. Don't you feel sorry for destroying those unthinking and unfeeling fetuses?"

Re:Bad idea! (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507624)

A short tweet like "We are attacking the Death Star tomorrow morning" is probably enough for the other side to set up a serious trap.

Re:Bad idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503698)

Please stop commenting on things you have no clue about. Thanks.

Re:Bad idea! (1)

ntk (974) | more than 2 years ago | (#35507414)

A large number of journalists and activists end up communicating with sources and each other using direct messaging on Twitter, so there is private information passing around. There's also the question of using login credentials to take over and fake messages. Also, there's the question of correlating Twitter identities with individuals (though I can think of a few strategies for attackers to do that even with https enabled).

Re:Bad idea! (1)

RichiH (749257) | about 3 years ago | (#35515030)

> We should be encouraging sites to be more cachable and more ISPs to adopt proxies like Squid

You have, quite literally, no idea what you are talking about. The German university and research backbone DFN is staffed with incredibly bright minds and has been pushing technology on quite a few frontiers.

They gave up proxying in the 90ies.

Why?

* It's cheaper to just add more bandwidth
* In any network of non-trivial size, there are a lot of possible routes traffic can go and you need to account for this and changing in the routing
* you need to store Terabytes of data
* caches will be i/o bound

Long story short: They were busy keeping the cache in sync and it cost them _considerably_ while making service worse.

Distribute your content, cache at the source or at the end. But not in the middle. This does not scale.

Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (4, Interesting)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503292)

I don't like keeping track of what sites I can and can't use HTTPS on, so I installed HTTPS Everywhere [eff.org] on my browsers and get HTTPS access to a bunch of sites by default.

BTW, when do we get HTTPS access to /.?

Re:Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (4, Funny)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503350)

When someone hacks CmdrTaco's account and posts something embarrassing using his name. I mean embarrassing enough we can tell it wasn't him, of course.

This may be difficult, to be honest.

Re:Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35505406)

http://news.slashdot.org/story/00/09/29/0231248/Slashdot-Database-Compromised [slashdot.org]
(more info: http://news.slashdot.org/story/00/09/29/1245218/Yup-Somebody-Cracked-Slashdot [slashdot.org])

But yes, it is less embarrassing than many things posted under CmdrTaco's name.

No message for this one though:
http://news.slashdot.org/story/98/09/14/1949212/Slashdot-Gets-Hacked [slashdot.org]

Re:Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (3, Informative)

ftobin (48814) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503388)

Slashdot has HTTPS access if you are a paying subscriber.

Re:Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503658)

Seems a little disingenuous for slashdot to be posting this story when https is not available for all slashdot users. The danger is no less or different from the other sites being slammed. Pot, meet kettle.

Re:Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35504140)

So a news site should never report on anything that might make them look bad.

That's some fine journalism, there.

Re:Good start, but install HTTPS everywhere (1)

PwnzerDragoon (2014464) | more than 2 years ago | (#35506642)

Why does a news aggregator need HTTPS? The comments, I suppose, but the lack of HTTPS never seemed to stop people from saying controversial and/or dumb things.

It is built in to Firefox 4 (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503326)

It is built in to Firefox 4 [mozilla.org] so soon you won't need an extension.

Re:It is built in to Firefox 4 (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503500)

From what I am understanding of the article its there to stop:

http://www.example..../ [www.example....]
[redirect to]
https://..../ [....]

Which could be grounds for a Man In The Middle Attack. It does not say anything about forcing people to use HTTPS, just that it will be done automatically instead of using a redirect. So it'll make sites which force HTTPS safer, but it won't force twitter to push https if you haven't asked for it.

Re:It is built in to Firefox 4 (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503710)

From what I am understanding of the article its there to stop:

http://www.example..../ [www.example....] [redirect to] https://..../ [....]

Which could be grounds for a Man In The Middle Attack. It does not say anything about forcing people to use HTTPS, just that it will be done automatically instead of using a redirect. So it'll make sites which force HTTPS safer, but it won't force twitter to push https if you haven't asked for it.

There is a better explanation here [wikipedia.org]. Basically after the header is received the browser will convert any http: requests to https [slashdot.org]:, therefore bypassing any redirect. Whether this will force you to use https depends on whether Twitter will set this header on their https sites only or on both http and https. Even if they do set it only on the https site it will force you to use https if you visit the https URL even once.

Small correction (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504080)

They cannot set it via http [wikipedia.org], so you will have to visit an https page for it to take effect:

Strict-Transport-Security headers must be sent via HTTPS responses only. Client implementations must not respect STS headers sent over non-HTTPS responses, or over HTTPS responses which are not using properly configured, trusted certificates.

Why? (2)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503424)

So you can securely upload your private data for public dissemination?

Re:Why? (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503514)

More like so you can be sure that someone using the same connection at your coffee shop won't post something in your name by sniffing your cookies.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35508738)

You mean namefags?

Tweet widget (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503450)

When will the "tweet this" button for websites be able to use SSL? Having this button in the footer of a site I worked on recently made it a bit of a hassle to create a page that's completely SSL.

Re:Tweet widget (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503558)

Good point. Are browsers still putting out the notorious "not all elements on this page are SSL" errors they used to?

Re:Tweet widget (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503996)

Well, I had to support IE8 with an SSL iframe because the client wanted some obscure payment processor that wouldn't break the continuity of the site's branding the way PayPal would.

So, if you have an iframe in SSL then you've got to jump through several hoops including adding something to mod_header and removing every single non-SSL element from the page. If you don't, then cookies get broken. Without cookies, I couldn't use the session variables that made everything work in the good browsers.

It's not a huge deal when I put it that way, but I had to do a lot of research on an otherwise finished project to make it work on one particularly bad, unpopular browser.

Re:Tweet widget (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504282)

Interesting. I'll bet you you had some kind of time convincing the client that hours billed for that research were worth it. ("If you're such a great developer, you should already know that")

optional? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35503478)

they just wanna look like they care.. if they really gave a shit, they would beef up their infrastructure to handle the extra load and https would be the default.. not an optional setting buried within preferences that few will remember exists a few months down the road

What about their android app? (1)

Bloody Peasant (12708) | more than 2 years ago | (#35503584)

Facebook got dinged [sophos.com] because their android app didn't use SSL even when the account is set up to use it. I wonder if Twitter has the same problem...

not HTTPS by default (1)

stiller (451878) | more than 2 years ago | (#35504984)

It's not HTTPS by default. It's giving users the option to use HTTPS.
HTTPS by default would be switching all users automatically, allowing them to opt out.

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