Menu
Latest Firefox version adds protection against rogue SSL certificates

Latest Firefox version adds protection against rogue SSL certificates

Firefox 32 has implemented a feature known as certificate key pinning

Mozilla has added a defense in its latest version of Firefox that would help prevent hackers from intercepting data intended for major online services.

The feature, known as certificate key pinning, allows online services to specify which SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Security Layer) certificates are valid for their services. The certificates are used to verify a site is legitimate and to encrypt data traffic.

The idea is to prevent attacks such as one that affected Google in 2011, targeting Gmail users. A Dutch certificate authority (CA), Diginotar, was either tricked or hacked and issued a valid SSL certificate that would work for a Google domain.

In theory, that allowed the hackers to set up a fake website that looked like Gmail and didn't trigger a browser warning of an invalid SSL certificate. Security experts have long warned that attacks targeting certificate authorities are a threat.

Certificate pinning would have halted that kind of attack, as Firefox would have known Diginotar shouldn't have issued a certificate for Google.

In Firefox 32, "if any certificate in the verified certificate chain corresponds to one of the known good (pinned) certificates, Firefox displays the lock icon as normal," wrote Sid Stamm, senior manager of security and privacy engineering at Mozilla, on a company blog.

"When the root cert for a pinned site does not match one of the known good CAs, Firefox will reject the connection with a pinning error," he continued.

The "pins" for the certificates of online services have to be encoded into Firefox. Firefox 32, released this week, supports Mozilla sites and Twitter. Later Firefox releases will support certificate pinning for Google sites, Tor, Dropbox and others, according to a project wiki.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags browsersGoogletwittersoftwareapplicationsmozilla

Featured

Slideshows

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session

New Zealanders kick-started EDGE 2018 with a bout of Super Rugby before a dedicated New Zealand session, in front of more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors on Hamilton Island.‚Äč

EDGE 2018: Kiwis kick back with Super Rugby before NZ session
EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research

EDGE 2018 kicked off with a dedicated New Zealand track, highlighting the key customer priorities across the local market, in association with Dell EMC. Delivered through EDGE Research - leveraging Kiwi data through Tech Research Asia - more than 50 partners, vendors and distributors combined during an interactive session to assess the changing spending patterns of the end-user and the subsequent impact to the channel.

EDGE 2018: Kiwis assess key customer priorities through NZ research
Show Comments