Re: [websec] Question on Pinning Overrides

Jeffrey Walton <noloader@gmail.com> Sun, 19 October 2014 16:27 UTC

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Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:27:30 -0400
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From: Jeffrey Walton <noloader@gmail.com>
To: Chris Palmer <palmer@google.com>
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Subject: Re: [websec] Question on Pinning Overrides
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Hi Chris,

I've had a few days to think about this...

>> If correct, won't that break Chrome with respect to
>> http://www.imperialviolet.org/2011/05/04/pinning.html (see section
>> "What about MITM proxies, Fiddler etc?")?
>
> Section 2.6:
>
> """ For example, a UA may disable Pin Validation for Pinned Hosts
> whose validated certificate chain terminates at a user-defined trust
> anchor, rather than a trust anchor built-in to the UA (or underlying
> platform)."""
>
> So that's how you make Fiddler work, among other things.

This is where I am concerned: user-defined. I thinks its a mistake to
claim the user defined anything under most circumstances and use
cases. Its not clear to me where the user makes a well informed
decision.

The uncommon case is the pen-tester or researcher using the proxy
tools. In this use case, the user clearly made the decision, and
clearly defined the trust anchor.

I think the more common cases of "I want to use my device at work" or
"I must click through the buttons to use the wifi hotspot" is devoid
of any user understanding and decision. In this use case, the user did
not define a trust anchor. Rather, it was surreptitiously installed by
the device management software or unscrupulous service providers.

In fact, the "user's decision" was likely hidden away in a Terms of
Service when Nokia was caught performing intercept en masse [0]. In
this case, the user clearly did not define anything. Rather, the
handset manufacture made the decision for the user.

Is there anything that can be done to address the gap?

[0] http://web.archive.org/web/20140127075723/http://falkvinge.net/2013/01/11/death-twitches-nokia-caught-wiretapping-encrypted-traffic-from-its-handsets/