Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

First spotted on David Farber's IP List

Microsoft's Internet Explorer has a vulerability in it's implementation of SSL. It allows anyone with a valid CA-signed certificate to generate a fake certificate for any domain. This is because MS IE does not check the "Basic Constraints" which should tell whether a CA has authority to verify another domain.

This is a significant vulnerability which would allow a "man-in-the-middle" attack without any dialog boxes. This means that someone could think they are accessing their bank or online shop securely and directly, but in fact be accessing through a hostile site. The hostile site could watch the transaction or modify the transaction without the user knowing it.

Aparently MS is downplaying it. The link below is a detailed report of the bug on BugTraq.

SecurityFocus HOME Mailing List: BugTraq - Internet Explorer SSL Vulnerability 08/05/02

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