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RSA, Comodo and Barracuda. One of these is not like the others.

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Consider this:

The RSA attack shows that SecurID has an architecture risk: They keep a copy of your shared secrets for revenue reasons. The Comodo attack shows a structural risk: incentives exist to sell certificates without investing it making sure they are legitimate. The RSA attack does not minimize the benefit of using two-factor authentication. It only highlights the well-known risk of using shared secrets instead of asymmetric encryption.  The Comodo attack doesn't mean that SSL encryption doesn't work. It just points out (again) that the CA trust model is broken. 

Both attacks also demonstrate that having a vendor in the middle increases the attack surface. This is the key take-away from these attacks. I'm concerned that this is getting lost and that companies will move to authentication systems that have the same risk. A prime example of such a system would be SMS-based authentication. If you can't trust RSA with your secrets, can you trust your mobile phone carrier?   

The Barracuda attack is different.  Ironically, the Barracuda attack shows the value of their own technology.  Yes, they may need to improve it (or turn it on), but fundamentally, their technology should have stopped the attack. To me this is a very important difference.

As an aside:  It is always a good idea to "consider the source".  This is a corporate blog after all and we compete in the marketplace.  If you follow me on twitter, you *follow* me.  WiKID does not currently do any email marketing, so no one has gotten an email from us on the RSA attack.  Our primary marketing tools are releasing code, both open-source and commercial, and producing documentation that, while primarily focused on integrating WiKID with various remote access solutions, adds to the general security knowledge, with a focus on open-source applications. Frankly, I think we deserve some credit for this.

 

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