Google Internet Authority G3

For some time now, operating behind the scenes and going mostly unnoticed, Google has been changing the infrastructure used to provide HTTPS certificates for its sites and services. You’ll note that I said mostly. Over the last few months, I’ve periodically encountered complaints from users who try to load a Google site and get an unexpectedContinue reading “Google Internet Authority G3”

Chrome 59 on Mac and TeletexString Fields

Update: This change ended up getting backed out, after it was discovered that it impacted smartcard authentication. Thanks for self-hosting Chrome Dev builds, IT teams! A change quietly went into Chrome 59 that may impact your certificates if they contain non-ASCII characters in a TeletexString field. Specifically, these certificates will fail to validate on Mac, resulting inContinue reading “Chrome 59 on Mac and TeletexString Fields”

Get Help with HTTPS problems

Sometimes, when you try to load a HTTPS address in Chrome, instead of the expected page, you get a scary warning, like this one: Chrome has found a problem with the security of the connection and has blocked loading the page to protect your information. In a lot of cases, if you’re just surfing around,Continue reading “Get Help with HTTPS problems”

Chrome Deprecates Subject CN Matching

If you’re using a Self-Signed certificate for your HTTPS server, a deprecation coming to Chrome may affect your workflow. Chrome 58 will require [why?] that certificates specify the hostname(s) to which they apply in the SubjectAltName field; values in the Subject field will be ignored. This follows a similar change in Firefox 48. If impacted,Continue reading “Chrome Deprecates Subject CN Matching”

The Trouble with Magic

“Magic” is great… except when it isn’t. Software Design is largely about tradeoffs, and one of the more interesting tradeoffs is between user experience and predictability. This has come up repeatedly throughout my career and in two independent contexts yesterday that I’ll describe in this post. Developer Magic I’m working on a tiny UX changeContinue reading “The Trouble with Magic”

Certified Malice

One unfortunate (albeit entirely predictable) consequence of making HTTPS certificates “fast, open, automated, and free” is that both good guys and bad guys alike will take advantage of the offer and obtain HTTPS certificates for their websites. Today’s bad guys can easily turn a run-of-the-mill phishing spoof: …into a somewhat more convincing version, by obtainingContinue reading “Certified Malice”

The Line of Death

When building applications that display untrusted content, security designers have a major problem— if an attacker has full control of a block of pixels, he can make those pixels look like anything he wants, including the UI of the application itself. He can then induce the user to undertake an unsafe action, and a userContinue reading “The Line of Death”

Client Certificates on Android

Recently, this interesting tidbit crossed my Twitter feed: Sure enough, if you visited the site in Chrome, you’d get a baffling prompt. My hometown newspaper shows the same thing: Weird, huh? Client certificates are a way for a browser to supply a certificate to the server to verify the client’s identity (in the typical case,Continue reading “Client Certificates on Android”

HTTPS Only Works If You Use It – Tipster Edition

It’s recently become fashionable for news organizations to build “anonymous tip” sites that permit members of the public to confidentially submit tips about stories of public interest. Unfortunately, would-be tipsters need to take great care when exploring such options, because many organizations aren’t using HTTPS properly to ensure that the user’s traffic to the newsContinue reading “HTTPS Only Works If You Use It – Tipster Edition”