Severe Internet Explorer SSL vulnerability

We list vulnerabilities every issue but this one, identified by Mike Benham on the Security Focus forum, is one of the most alarming I’ve seen. Worse still Microsoft seem to be downplaying it’s significance.  In essence, there is a vulnerability in Internet Explorer V5, 5.5 and 6, that allows anyone with a valid VeriSign SSL site certificate to forge any other VeriSign SSL site certificate. This allows any such site to pretend to be any other site and in the process the user has no idea what has taken place. To quote Thomas Green  "… any fool with an SSL cert can spoof certs for popular, trusted sites, and intercept communications widely imagined to be secure with a man-in-the-middle attack. If this should happen to you, that reassuring little padlock icon is essentially worthless."  More details here: http://www.thoughtcrime.org/ie-ssl-chain.txt
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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2002-08-15: