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OpenSSL Hit by Forgery Bug 69

Daniel Cray writes to tell us ZDNet is reporting that OpenSSL versions up to 0.9.7j and 0.9.8b are vulnerable to a signature forgery technique. OpenSSL has already released an update fixing the problem. From the article: "The flaw only affects a particular type of signature — PKCS #1 v1.5 signatures — but these are used by some certificate authorities... The signature forgery technique was first demonstrated last month at the Crypto 2006 conference by Daniel Bleichenbacher, a cryptographer with Bell Labs, according to security firm Netcraft. OpenSSL credited Google Security with successfully forging various certificates and providing the fix."
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OpenSSL Hit by Forgery Bug

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  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @10:31PM (#16194637) Journal
    While the parent poster was arguably flamebaiting or trolling about how Open Source doesn't always get the bugs found or fixed, and makes it easy for Bad Guys to write exploits, and he doesn't know that havoc is something you wreak as opposed to wrecking, he's actually hit on a couple of important problems here.

    This isn't really a problem with buggy coding - it's a crypto math problem that is affected by implementation choices, and new crypto discoveries can hit some code harder than others. The code here was checked very thoroughly by *lots* of people, including some really strong crypto experts, because it's critical code for a lot of people. With RSA signatures, there's a public exponent "e" and a private exponent "d", and e is a pretty arbitrary prime, so it's common to pick a value that lets you do fast calculations. The popular values are 3, 65537, and occasionally 17, and it's hard to find a number x such that x**e mod n == y if you don't know d (or p and q.) The problem is that it's not so hard to find x and some junk such that (x,junk)**e mod n == (y,otherjunk), at least if e is small enough, and the standard ASN.1 code makes it easy to add arbitrary junk. 3 is small enough (and really fast to use), 17 might be, 65537 is pretty safe, and ASN.1 is the Mos Eisley of data representation protocols, a wretched hive of scum and villainy that nobody wants to mess around in. So some people do the right thing in checking the "otherjunk" beyond the y, but not everybody did, and until Bleichenbacher's attack you didn't need to.

    Open Source does mean that you *can* update your copy of OpenSSL, without waiting for Microsoft Patch Day - and in the crypto world, the only way to trust anything is for the algorithms and implementation code to be documented and readable. They don't have to be "open" in the sense of "accepting patches from arbitrary people" or "free as in speech, not patented, not copyrighted, guaranteed to make RMS happy", but if you can't see the algorithms or install code you've recompiled from scratch yourself, you can't trust it.

    So the fact that you've got to update OpenSSL and link it in to other code is really fine here - if you're paranoid, you need to do it yourself, and you've got the tools to do it; if you're not paranoid, this is a fairly tough exploit to actually do anything useful with, though you could go deleting a few certificates from your browser's security files if you're worried.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.