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Launching 2015: a New Certificate Authority To Encrypt the Entire Web

Peter Eckersley Re:Shared hosting... (212 comments)

We'll try to give site operators a configurable choice of multiple solutions -- certificates with multiple Subject Alternative Names (SANs); per-site certificates deployed using Server Name Indication (SNI); IPv4 addresses per site if you have enough; or IPv6 addresses per site.

All of these solutions have different problems and limitations:

  • If mutliple-SAN certs get too large, they cause performance problems, and some clients may not be able to handle them
  • SNI isn't supported by Safari and older IE on Windows XP, or more alarmingly by Android below 4.x
  • IPv4 addresses are scarce and costly
  • Many clients still can't route IPv6

  Sophisticated hosting platforms may want to use all of these methods in combination.

about 1 month ago
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Launching 2015: a New Certificate Authority To Encrypt the Entire Web

Peter Eckersley Re:quick question (212 comments)

Actually the US Department of Defense and dozens of other governments have their own CAs with which they could issue a certificate for your domain, if they wished to. Here's a map we made of them using our SSL Observatory datasets.

Nonetheless we should be able to use publication mechanisms such as Certificate Transparency to ensure that any compromise or compulsion of the Let's Encrypt CA could be quickly detected.

about 1 month ago
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With HTTPS Everywhere, is Firefox now the most secure mobile browser?

Peter Eckersley Re:HTTPS Doesn't Make a Browser Secure (2 comments)

Agreed, provocative headline aside, the post specifies that the kind of security we can deliver is protection against dragnet surveillance.

Mobile phones in general are not yet in a position to offer much host security against targetted attacks; they have unauditable basedband chips and carrier-controlled update mechanisms and very slow security update cycles.

about 10 months ago
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EFF's HTTPS Everywhere Detects and Warns About Cryptographic Vulnerabilities

Peter Eckersley Re:does it keep track.. ? (46 comments)

you know who's connected where?

Great question. If you have Torbutton installed, the Decentralized SSL Observatory will use Tor to submit the certs via an anonymized HTTPS POST, and warnings (if there are any) are sent back through the Tor network in response.

If you don't have Torbutton, you can still turn on the SSL Observatory, in which case the submission is direct. The server does not keep logs of which IPs certs are submitted from, though this is of course less secure than using Tor.

Before you can turn the Observatory on, we have a UI that tries to explain all of this elegantly and succinctly, in language that even not-super-technical users can understand.

The original design document is here: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/HTTPSEverywhere/SSLObservatorySubmission

more than 2 years ago
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EFF Asks Verizon Whether Etisalat Deserves CA Trust

Peter Eckersley Re:I'm confused... (135 comments)

Is it possible for me to reject the Etisalat subCA cert without ever seeing it?

With Chrome/IE/Safari on OS X and Windows only, there is a way to block the Etisalat subordinate CA certs. First you have to fetch a copy (see for instance this site). Note that the Etisalat cert is also labelled "Comtrust". Then export the cert. Then on Windows, reimport them into "untrustuted certificates" store. On OS X, import the cert using the Keychain Application into "My Certificates", and disable it.

more than 4 years ago
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EFF Releases Tool For Testing ISP Interference

Peter Eckersley Re:Dictionary words make bad project names (96 comments)

It is often a bad idea to select a project name that is a common dictionary word. It makes the project almost ungooglable and also dilutes the original meaning of the name -- I wonder if the nation of Switzerland wants to be associated with this piece of software. The global English dictionary namespace isn't running out yet, so we don't need to start reusing words.

Yes, this is a fair point and we talked about changing the name before launch for this reason. But despite a lot of brainstorming, we couldn't think of a better name. If you want to search for Switzerland, add a word like "eff" or "isp" or "packet" or "network" to your google search. Maybe if we're successful enough we'll end up on the first page of results for a simple "switzerland" search at some point.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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Launching 2015: a new Certificate Authority to Encrypt the Entire Web

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  about 1 month ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "Today EFF, Mozilla, Cisco and Akamai announced a forthcoming project called Let's Encrypt. Let's Encrypt will be a certificate authority that issues free certificates to any website, using automated protocols (demo video here). Launching in summer 2015, we believe this will be the missing piece that deprecates the woefully insecure HTTP protocol in favor of HTTPS."
Link to Original Source
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EFF begins a Campaign for Secure and Usable Cryptography

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "Over at EFF we just launched our Secure Messaging Scorecard, which is the first phase in a campaign to promote the development of communications protocols that are genuinely secure and usable by ordinary people. The Scorecard evaluates communications software against critical minimum standards for what a secure messaging app should look like; subsequent phases are planned to examine real world usability, metadata protection, protocol openness, and involve a deeper look at the security of the leading candidates. Right now, we don't think the Internet has any geninely usable, genuinely secure messaging protocols — but we're hoping to encourage tech companies and the open source community to starting closing that gap."
Link to Original Source
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With HTTPS Everywhere, is Firefox now the most secure mobile browser?

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  about 10 months ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "Over at EFF, we just released a version of our HTTPS Everywhere extension for Firefox for Android. HTTPS Everywhere upgrades your insecure web requests to HTTPS on many thousands of sites, and this means that Firefox on Android with HTTPS Everywhere is now by far the most secure browser against dragnet surveillance attacks like those performed by the NSA, GCHQ, and other intelligence agencies.

Android users should install the Firefox app and then add HTTPS Everywhere to it. iPhone and iPad users will unfortunately have to switch to Android to get this level of security because Apple has locked Mozilla Firefox out of their platforms."

Link to Original Source
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Australian Networks Censoring Community University Website

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "At the EFF we were recently contacted by the organisers of the Melbourne Free University (MFU), an Australian community education group, whose website had been unreachable from a number of Australian ISPs since the 4th of April.

It turns out that the IP address of MFU's virtual host has been black-holed by several Australian networks; there is suggestive but not conclusive evidence that this is a result of some sort of government request or order. It is possible that MFU and 1200 other sites that use that IP address are the victims of a block that was put in place for some other reason.

Further technical analysis and commentary is in our blog post."

Link to Original Source
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Presidential campaigns leaking supporters' identities to online tracking firms?

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Peter Eckersley writes "Stanford privacy researcher Jonathan Mayer has published new research showing that websites of both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns, which are used to communicate with and coordinate their volunteers, leak large amounts of private information to third-party online tracking firms. The Obama campaign site leaked names, usernames, zip codes and street addresses to up to ten companies. The Romney campaign site leaked names, zip codes and partial email addresses to up to thirteen firms."
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EFF's HTTPS Everywhere Detects and Warns About Cryptographic Vulnerabilities

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Peter Eckersley writes "EFF has released version 2 of the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension for Firefox, and a beta version for Chrome. The Firefox release has a major new feature called the Decentralized SSL Observatory. This optional setting submits anonymous copies of the HTTPS certificates that your browser sees to our Observatory database allowing us to detect attacks against the web's cryptographic infrastructure. It also allows us to send real-time warnings to users who are affected by cryptographic vulnerabilities or man-in-the-middle attacks. At the moment, the Observatory will send warnings if you connect to a device has a weak private key due to recently discoveredrandom number generator bugs, and we will be adding more such tests in the future."
Link to Original Source
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Internet Inventors Warn Against SOPA and PIPA

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  about 3 years ago

Peter Eckersley writes "This morning, a group of 83 prominent Internet engineers — including Vint Cerf, Paul Vixie, and many other pioneers who designed, specified, built, and debugged the network — sent a letter to the US Congress warning about the disastrous consequences that SOPA and PIPA, the two Internet blacklist censorship bills, would have for the reliability and security of the network. Unfortunately, these bills are perilously close to passing. EFF also has some suggestions on how Slashdot readers can take action against the bills."
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Widespread hijacking of search traffic in the US

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Peter Eckersley writes "The Netalyzr research project from the ICSI networking group has discovered that on a number of US ISPs' networks, search traffic for Bing, Yahoo! and sometimes Google is being redirected to proxy servers operated by a company called Paxfire.

In addition to posing a grave privacy problem, this server impersonation is being used to redirect certain searches away from the user's chosen search engine and to affiliate marketing programs instead. Further analysis in a post at EFF."

Link to Original Source
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Widespread hijacking of search traffic in the US

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Peter Eckersley writes "A research team at ICSI in Berkeley has discovered that on a number of US ISPs' networks, search traffic for Bing, Yahoo! and sometimes Google is being redirected to proxy servers operated by a company called Paxfire.

In addition to posing a grave privacy problem, this server impersonation is being used to redirect certain searches away from the user's chosen search engine and to affiliate marketing programs instead."

Link to Original Source
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EFF to Verizon: Should Etisalat have a CA cert?

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "Today EFF published an open letter to Verizon (NYTimes coverage), calling for investigation of whether Etisalat is really an appropriate party to be a trusted SSL Certificate Authority. Etisalat is a majority state-owned telecom of the United Arab Emirates with operations throughout the Middle East. You may remember that last year Etisalat installed malware on its subscribers' BlackBerry phones, and was recently pivotal in the UAE's threat to disconnect BlackBerry devices altogether if Research In Motion did not provide a backdoor for BES servers' crypto.

This company, which appears to be institutionally hostile to the existence and use of secure cryptosystems, is in possession of a master certificate for HTTPS, encrypted POP and IMAP, and other SSL-based security systems. Etisalat's CA certificate is not trusted directly by Mozilla and Microsoft, but was instead delegated as an Intermediate CA by Verizon. As a result, we are asking Verzion to investigate whether it is appropriate for Etisalat to continue holding this certificate, and to consider revoking it."

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The HTTPS Everywhere Firefox Extension

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "EFF and Tor have announced a public beta of HTTPS Everywhere, a Firefox plugin that automatically encrypts your Google searches as well as requests to several other sites, including Wikipedia, Twitter, Identica, Facebook, some major newspapers, and a number of smaller search engines. This plugin makes it much easier to use encryption with sites that support it, but not by default.

For us, this is part of an ongoing campaign to turn the unencrypted web of the past into the encrypted web of tomorrow."

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Almost All Browsers are Uniquely Fingerprintable

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "Earlier this year, a lot of Slashdot users participated in EFF's Panopticlick experiment to test whether browsers are can be tracked using only the version and configuration information that they share with websites. We have now published a paper reporting the statistical results of the experiment. It shows that 94% of browsers that run Flash or Java (and 84% of browsers generally) were completely unique in a sample of around half a million — almost all desktop browsers were uniquely fingerprintable. The report also studies how rapidly these fingerprints change, and what countermeasures can be taken against fingerprinting. But in summary, browser version and configuration information needs to be treated as identifying in much the same way that IP addresses, cookies, and supercookies are."
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Tracking browsers without cookies or IP addresses?

Peter Eckersley Peter Eckersley writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Peter Eckersley (66542) writes "The EFF has launched a research project called Panopticlick, to determine whether seemingly innocuous browser configuration information (like User Agent strings, plugin versions and, fonts) may create unique fingerprints that allow web users to be tracked, even if they limit or delete cookies. Preliminary results indicate that the User Agent string alone has 10.5 bits of entropy, which means that for a typical Internet user, only one in about 1,500 (2 ^ 10.5) others will share their User Agent string.

If you visit Panopticlick, you can get an reading of how rare or unique your browser configuration is, as well as helping EFF to collect better data about this problem and how best to defend against it."

Link to Original Source

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