Certificate spoofing issue with Mozilla, Konqueror, Safari 2 Nov 18 2007 07:43PM
Nils Toedtmann (securityfocus nils toedtmann net)
Moin *

Mozilla based browsers (Firefox, Netscape, ...), Konqueror and Safari 2
do not bind a user-approved webserver certificate to the originating
domain name. This makes the user vulnerable to certificate spoofing by
"subjectAltName:dNSName" extensions.

I set up a demonstration at <http://test.eonis.net/>, check it out. For
details (vulnerable versions, vendor status, bug ids ...) see


Attack scenario:

(1) Assumed a phisher could redirect a user's browser to his prepared
https webserver spoofing "www.paypal.com" (by DNS spoofing or domain
hijacking or other MITM attack). But the user's browser would raise
an "unknown CA" warning because the phisher does not have a
certificate for "www.paypal.com" issued by a browser-trusted CA
(that's what X.509 and TLS is all about!). Thus, the phisher defers
this step.

(2) The phisher creates another website "www.example.com" (not spoofed)
and a home brewed X.509 cert:


and lures the user to https://www.example.com/. The user gets an
"unknown CA" warning, but the "subjectAltName:dNSName" extensions
are not shown to him, so the cert looks ok. As he does not plan to
enter any private information, he accepts it (temporarily or
permanently) and proceeds.

(3) Any time later (if the cert got accepted temporarily this has to
happen within the same session), the phisher lures the user to his
spoofed https://www.paypal.com/, using the very same self-signed
certificate - NO WARNING!

In the end, the cert warning and the spoofing attempt get separated into
two events which appear to the user as being unrelated. I consider this
a severe cert-spoofing issue, aggravated by the fact that affected
browsers also match any hostname with "subjectAltName:dNSName=*".

For Mozilla, this issue is known for more than three years without being

Regards, /nils.

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