Security Portal: The End of SSL and SSH?

“Yesterday, dsniff 2.3 was released. Why is this important, you
ask? dsniff 2.3 allows you to exploit several fundamental flaws in
two extremely popular encryption protocols, SSL and SSH. SSL and
SSH are used to protect a large amount of network traffic, from
financial transactions with online banks and stock trading sites to
network administrator access to secured hosts holding extremely
sensitive data. Both SSH and SSL use “public key encryption,”
wherein their vulnerabilities lie. They also rely heavily on the
user to make the right decisions when faced with an attack, and
most users are not educated enough to know what exactly they are
dealing with. Users often make the wrong decision – how many times
have we told users not to open up executables emailed to

“While SSL requires that the server authenticate to the user, it
is usually an option for the user to authenticate to the server.
And since so very few users own personal certificates, it is
exceedingly rare for a user to be able to prove their identity to
the server in question – leaving the connection open to attack. The
same general problems exist for SSH. Instead of certificates,
however, SSH simply uses a secret and public key, and since they
are generally not signed, it is trivial for an attacker to sit in
the middle and intercept the connection. If this is the first time
you are connecting to a host and you do not have the server’s
public key locally, you will be none the wiser. If you do have the
server’s public key, you will generally receive a warning like
“Warning: server’s key has changed. Continue?” Most users will hit


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