by Alexander Sotirov
Creating a rogue CA certificate
Dec 30, 2008
The details of our secret project are out! Our research team, consisting of 7 researchers from the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands, was able to execute a practical MD5 collision attack and create a rogue Certification Authority trusted by all common web browsers. This allows us to perform transparent man-in-the-middle attacks against SSL connections and monitor or tamper with the traffic to secure websites or email servers.
The infrastructure of Certification Authorities is meant to prevent exactly this type of attack. Our work shows that known weaknesses in the MD5 hash function can be exploited in realistic attack, due to the fact that even after years of warnings about the lack of security of MD5, some root CAs are still using this broken hash function.
For more details, see our project website.