The recent Microsoft Security Advisory warning of fraudulent
digital certificates brought to mind a concern that has quietly slipped from
wide notice. But in this early time of digital
social networks and free-flowing personal information the question of “Do you
know who you trust?” becomes even more timely.
For those who aren’t aware of the details, one of the root
certificate authorities (or CAs) responsible for establishing identity
information on the Internet was basically “tricked” into issuing digital
certificates for a number of high-profile domains including login.yahoo.com,
mail.google.com, login.skype.com and 7 others.
But why should we care? Because
it can affect you. These digital
certificates not only function as “identity papers” in the online world, they
are also the basis for secure HTTPS or SSL encrypted communication with those
sites. The type of communication we are
told to look for (“look for the lock symbol in your browser!”) before
disclosing any sensitive information. The
sites look absolutely valid and their Internet identity papers confirm it.
Unfortunately in this case, those are stolen identity
papers. If we do trust those sites we
will end up giving away our passwords and PINs to criminals. But who will suspect that the sites aren’t
legitimate? The domain names are
familiar (google.com, yahoo.com, skype.com).
And our browsers would warn us if the name on the certificate didn’t
match the destination address. Our
browsers would also warn us if the certificate wasn’t issued by a trusted
certificate authority. We’ve all seen
that pop-up at some point as well:
But what are trusted Certificate Authorities? And who decides they are trusted? To answer the first question, Certificate
Authorities are companies that verify ownership of a domain and then issue a
digital certificate (i.e. Internet identity papers) for that domain. Note that these certificates don’t mean that the
site itself is trustworthy; just that you can trust that whoever has the
certificate for a domain actually owns it.
The last part is where Comodo Inc. had problems. Apparently someone broke into their
Registration Authority (or RA) and was able to fool Comodo’s Certificate Server
into believing that the requests for these certificates were genuine. The RA serves, among other purposes, as the
fact-checker and establishes whether or not the request is valid. The attacker didn’t attempt a frontal assault
– CA’s are generally very-well protected (they sit in secure cages secured with
biometric locks housed in secure datacenters).
Instead they attacked the trust chain.
A real-life example (well, maybe real-life Hollywood-style) would be
someone stealing an armored truck and uniforms and fooling bank personnel into
loading a bunch of cash into the truck as opposed to trying to break into the
But we still haven’t answered the question of what makes a
Certificate Authority trusted? I’ll
answer that question in Part 2 and include some practical recommendations as to
how to both assess and reduce your own risk.
Title: Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Branch Solutions Business Unit
Area of Responsibility: Driving Juniper business including strategy, revenue/profitability, products and execution for this segment of SLT's overall portfolio, specifically comprehensive solutions for the small to medium size locations of large, distributed enterprises.
Alex joined Juniper in February 2008 after more than five years at Extreme Networks, where he served as Chief Operating Officer from mid 2002 through 2006, and the last year as VP and GM of Extreme's high-end switching business and core engineering operations. During his tenure at Extreme Alex led programs which established essential product lifecycle and quality systems, completely refreshed the product portfolio, significantly improved product and service quality and margins, and streamlined the supply chain.
Prior to Extreme Alex served as Chief Operating Officer for LCG Wireless (acquired by ADC Telecommunications), SVP Business Operations for ReplayTV, and earlier spent eight years in various executive roles with Octel Communications (acquired by Lucent Technologies) as CIO, SVP Business Operations, and SVP and GM of Enterprise Messaging. Alex holds a bachelors and masters degree in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.
Bill is the Director of Federal Certifications and Policy at Juniper Networks. In this role, Bill focuses on several areas unique to the needs of Federal Government customers, including product certifications, IPv6, and security. Bill came to Juniper Networks in January 2008 after more than 20 years in the IT community working with commercial enterprise customers, service providers, and the US Federal Government.
Bill started his career as an engineering officer in the US Air Force after graduating with a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bill has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Brad Minnis, CPP is the Senior Director of Corporate Environmental, Health, Safety & Security for Juniper Networks, Inc. based in Sunnyvale, CA, where he is responsible for strategic design, implementation and management of the company’s security, safety, environment, crisis management and business continuity functions. He also leads the company’s efforts in corporate citizenship and sustainability, and manages the Corporation’s government-related security programs.
Mr. Minnis has over 30 years experience in the Silicon Valley and has managed EHSS operations for a number of high tech companies, including Juniper Networks, 3Com Corporation, and National Semiconductor Corporation.
Mr. Minnis’ specialties include security management, supply chain and product integrity, anti-counterfeit, occupational health and safety and crisis management. In his role as Cyber Incident Response Team Leader for Juniper, Mr. Minnis has managed numerous high impact cyber-related incidents and cross-functional responses.
Mr. Minnis served for ten years in the United States Navy and has served in leadership positions the International Security Management Association (ISMA) and ASIS International, serving as Chairman of the San Francisco Chapter in 2003. He has also co-written several publications on software integrity assurance and supply chain security with organizations such as SAFECode.
Mr. Minnis is certified as a Protection Professional by the Professional Certification Board of ASIS International and attended the University of Connecticut, where he received two certificates in Environmental, Health and Safety
François Prowse is a Senior Systems Engineer for Juniper Networks, based in Brisbane Australia. Francois joined Juniper in 2006 as part of the New Zealand SE team, subsequently relocating to Australia. Prior to Juniper, Francois worked for four years at Alcatel in both operational and architectural roles, being jointly responsible for the construction of New Zealands' largest MPLS core network. Prior to Alcatel, Francois worked at UUnet, focusing on core network expansion in Europe. In all previous roles JUNOS has been the driving factor behind day to day operations, providing him with over 8 years of operational experience. Francois is a Juniper Networks Certified Internet Expert (JNCIE #144) which he obtained prior to joining Juniper Networks.
Greg Sidebottom is a Senior Engineering Manager in the Identity and Policy Management business unit at Juniper Networks. Greg has spent the last decade plus conceptualizing, architecting, designing, and leading the implementation of Juniper's SDX and SRC families of policy based service management applications. Previous to this, Greg held positions in the software and networking industries at Siemens, Cognos, Nortel, GTE labs subsidiary MPR Teltech, and the Alberta Research Council. Greg is an author of eight invention disclosures resulting in two patents issued and three pending. Greg holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science for the University of Calgary and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University.
Senior Product Line Manager – CTP Products Juniper Networks.
Jim Kelly is the senior product line manager for the CTP products where he is responsible for the CTP product direction, marketing and circuit emulation applications within Juniper Networks. Mr. Kelly has more than 28 years of experience in the networking industry in technical roles, sales, marketing, and product management positions. He started his career in the United States Air Force. He has worked for Wang, Digital Telecom Systems, American Airlines, Network Equipment Technologies, Carrier Access, and Nortel Networks. He started Juniper Networks federal DoD sales in July 2000 and joined Juniper Networks again in October 2005 through the acquisition of Acorn Packet Solutions where he was the director of sales and marketing.
Justin Ryburn is a Senior Systems Engineer at Juniper Networks. He holds an MBA and a MS in IT Management from Webster University as well as numerous industry certifications. Justin contributed content for Cyber Forensics (Auerbach Publishing, 2007) and spoke on BGP Flowspec at NANOG63. Prior to joining Juniper, Justin held various operations, engineering, and sales engineering positions over his 15-year career with companies such Savvis, Nortel, XO, and Charter.
I am currently a Sr. Product Marketing Manager specializing in Juniper's Security Portfolio in the Service Provider industry. I am an experienced senior technical leader, technical marketing engineer, solutions architect, and product marketing manager with over 20 years of Internet and Enterprise industry experience developing solutions from scratch often in relation with business units and technology groups, my projects ranged from product, solution, and technology development to corporate technology strategies. I have strong analytical skills and I am able to crunch and articulate complex technology to a variety of audience knowledge levels. I possess a deep hands-on technology and business knowledge of Service Provider and Enterprise architectures with deployment hands-on skills. I also bring a unique perspective of open source philosophy, including but not limited to open innovation, software development methodologies, open source monetization and business models, and licensing and compliance in software integration. I am a strategic leader with proved ability to empower a team to improve their product, themselves, their team, and our company’s market position.
30 Years in Book Publishing, 20 years in Technical Book Publishing, including Apple Developer Press, Adobe Press, Nokia Developer Books, Palm Books, and since 2001, almost 10 years as consulting editor/editor in chief for Juniper Networks Book. Joined the company and started the Day One book line and in 2011, the new This Week book line.
Rajoo Nagar is a senior manager in product marketing at Juniper Networks. She is responsible for product marketing for Juniper's security solutions. Rajoo is a published author, her book “Telecom Service Rollouts” was published by McGraw Hill Professional.
I'm a Product Line Manager in the Security Business Unit working on all things intrusion prevention-related. I've been in the security field since 1994 working on diverse projects such as developing HP's public-key infrastructure (PKI), building the first protocol anomaly-based IDS at Recourse Technologies (acquired by Symantec), integrating vulnerability management and IDS at VM vendor nCircle and managing IPS products at Cisco and Juniper.
Jonathan Looney is a Senior Staff Courseware Developer at Juniper Networks. Before joining Juniper, he performed network engineering for a large enterprise, a regional ISP, and an application service provider (ASP). The holder of several industry certifications, he enjoys the freedom his job at Juniper gives him to both continually learn and also to share his knowledge with others through a wide range of media.
Scott is the Director of Product Marketing for Mobile Security at Juniper Networks. In his 20+ years in high tech, Scott has worked on Mobile and Endpoint Security, Network Security, IPS, Managed Services, Network Infrastructure, Co-location, Microprocessor Architecture, Unix Servers and Network Adapters. He has held leadership roles at Check Point, McAfee, Symantec, Exodus Communications, Cable & Wireless, Savvis, and HP.
Sherry Ryan is IT Vice President and CISO of Juniper Networks. Previously, Sherry held similar positions at Blue Shield of California, Hewlett-Packard, Safeway and Levi Strauss where she established and led their information security programs. Sherry holds the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification from ISACA and the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification from ISC2. She is a member of the High Tech Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA).
Sherry has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands, and earned her MBA from the College of Notre Dame.