First, congrats, this is great news! There's a lot of use cases out there that require a wildcard cert or work far better with them.
> It is our intent to transition all clients and subscribers to ACMEv2, though we have not set an end-of-life date for our ACMEv1 API yet.
Please don't do this. It will break millions of sites needlessly. Most installations of lets encrypt plugins aren't going to auto update to v2. A lot of us are also using custom v1 code for various reasons that may not be easy to change.
The preferable end-of-life date for ACMEv1 (sparing any existential security issues) should be never. Otherwise you will be executing a Geocities-sized web meltdown every time you phase out a version of the API.
I doubt they would just break it. I imagine if they do this then this will be announced sufficiently in advance (probably around two or three years) to allow people to update their ACME clients. Then you can just operate the ACMEv1 for existing domains until noone is asking for more (and scale down the architecture).
The problem is that LE is being used as plumbing. I noticed MIAB was using LE because I recognise that SSL-out-of-the-box is something interesting, and I investigated. But I wager most people who use it will have no idea. They just install it, and "it works", as it should. great. What's HTTPS? That's the entire point of tools like MIAB, mind you:
> Technically, Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh cloud computer into a working mail server. But you don’t need to be a technology expert to set it up.
I'm just choosing MIAB as an example here. This applies to anything that LE now enables. People don't know they're using LE, much like IOT users don't know they're using HTTP/1.1. It's part of the plumbing. What's an ACME client? What's LE? What's v1?
This is probably happening for IOT devices across the globe just the same. A 2y expiration date is an order of magnitude too low for plumbing. Imagine if we suddenly decided to phase out HTTP/1.1 within two years.
We have to recognise that we are shoving HTTPS down people's throats. Pretty soon, HTTP will get big f-off warnings. OK: fair enough. However, if we're doing that, we should also provide a viable alternative, with the same reliability. Otherwise, HTTPS is a massive step backwards for the decentralised web. LE is that alternative, but not if we start breaking backwards compatibility every 2 years.
Again, I'm not saying that the two year expiration date means "v1 stops working".
Rather, "after this point, no new domains may setup via v1", so any existing certificates and installations are grandfathered. Two years is sufficient for MIAB to update their software and distribute to users.
>LE is that alternative, but not if we start breaking backwards compatibility every 2 years.
Not what I'm saying either. They have a v2 now, we don't know if they need a v3. And they want to keep v1 running for a while.
But there will be a point where v1 will need to be switched off, similar to how modern browsers have switched off SSLv1 despite a lot of people still having servers running with that.
LE will, at some point, have to decide between keeping v1 running or moving away from old protocols to be able to evolve. And that cannot be infinitely pushed backwards.
If the EoL is far enough after the release of V2 then I think it is preferable that people start getting security warnings for sites that stop working: it is an indication that they are no longer maintained so potentially not receiving security updates for other matters.
Obviously a decent length of grace period would be the correct way of deprecating the older version, to give people time to update their infrastructure accordingly. I would suggest at least a full year (giving at least four renewal cycles to test changes in a QA environment before being forced to update production), probably more. Perhaps, if possible, a year for new certificates and two years for renewals?
Since the certificate need to be updated every three months they have access to exact number of how many people use ACMEv1. They also have as naturally part of the process the domain names of those users. This should allow them to very slowly watch as the number of v1 users drops until there is so few that they can try contact any remaining users before deciding to set an end-of-life to that version.
And some people take clients like acme.sh and modify them. I do that myself.
There's enough entrenched inertia to HTTPS without giving people more ammunition regarding the actual amount of work involved. Unless there's a security reason to eliminate the v1 endpoint, please don't.
While there was no world-destroying core meltdown, it was still super-annoying to deal with. Lots of code needed to be touched. I'd really like a comeback of a fixed TLS-SNI challenge as running a port 80 HTTP server just for LE sucks somewhat.
DNS challenges exist and are useful but have more extensive infrastructure requirements. Nothing beats the ease of use of "just put the box up and it'll retrieve its cert as needed".
The SSL zealotry drives me nuts. The infosec community screams constantly about "HTTPS everywhere", but they either don't know or don't care about all the effort and pain they're creating for developers who just want their software to work. How many perfectly good sites will be marked ominously as "insecure" by Chrome in the next few months? Sites that were working just fine until someone at Big G decided they weren't.
(Related, a big thanks to Google for un-trusting that whole big Symantec security chain. Yeah, I realize they weren't competent, but I also realize that it had no practical effect on my site's security, as I don't have nation states or motivated hackers in my threat model.)
Security measures should be weighed like everything else - as cost/benefit. In many cases the cost of the security is not worth it.
Edit: I'd just like to point out the irony in some of the replies to this comment. I'm complaining about zealotry, and the vast majority of nasty replies I've received to this comment are using language that only zealots and ideologues would use. My god, you'd think I'm killing puppies based on some of these responses. Nope, just advocating for using HTTPS where it makes sense, and not having it forced down your throat.
> developers who just want their software to work.
Those devs are gonna be really surprised when they find out that unencrypted connections are routinely tampered with.
> they either don't know or don't care about all the effort and pain they're creating
You have not been paying attention to the hundreds of tools available to make HTTPS painless.
> until someone at Big G decided they weren't.
And Mozilla. And countless research papers. And real-world attacks that are reported over and over again. The fact is that the global Web has become hostile, regardless of your prejudice against Google's Web security teams.
> In many cases the cost of the security is not worth it.
The problem is that it's not YOUR security, it's other people's. If websites don't implement HTTPS, it's the users of
the Web who pay the price. It's their privacy being deprived. And the website becomes easy to impersonate and manipulate, increasing the liability of having a website. HTTP is bad news all around.
HTTPS doesn't make it uncacheable - you can still mirror an HTTPS repository with another HTTPS repository (with its own domain name and certificate), and preserve the PGP signatures inside the repository. apt works fine with exactly this model: you use HTTPS for transport-layer protection and GPG for the existing things Debian's security model was already good at. The Debian repository is behind HTTPS at https://deb.debian.org - in existing Debian releases you may need to install apt-transport-https, and then just set your sources.list to
deb https://deb.debian.org/debian stable main
HTTPS cannot be used as a replacement for PGP in this scenario, but that's the wrong way to see HTTPS. It doesn't provide purpose-built security for people who have custom threat models and need to build security infrastructure anyway (e.g., Debian verifies PGP signatures on sets of packages uploaded by developers, and then builds those packages and puts them into signed archives). HTTPS is baseline security - it's the security that every web connection should just have. It's not surprising that some specific use case like Debian repositories needs more-than-baseline security.
And because HTTPS is nothing more than baseline security, it's possible to automate it with things like Let's Encrypt and not add any more checking beyond current control of DNS or HTTP traffic to the domain.
(Another confusion along these lines is assuming HTTPS is useful as an assertion that a site isn't malware. It asserts no such thing, only that the site is who it claims to be and network attackers are not present. If I am the person who registered paypal-online-secure-totes-legit.com, I should be able to get a cert for it, because HTTPS attests to nothing else.)
I'm not talking about a mirror, which has a different domain name. I'm talking about a transparent cache like squid. This will mean I don't have to change the OS images that I might not even control in order to get traffic savings, whereas under your model I would have to, which again, may not even be feasible.
Indeed. The same is also true for repositories, served via SSL.
Majority of HTTPS traffic is sniffable and largely non-confidential, unless you pad every file and web-request to several gigabytes in size.
Does your website use gzip? Good, now padding won't help you either, — unless it is way bigger than original content. Oh, and make sure, that you defend against timing attacks as well! Passive sniffers totally won't identify specific webpage based on it's generation time, will they?!
As for authenticity… Surely, you are going to use certificate pinning (which is already removed from Google Chrome for political reasons). And personally sue certificate issuer, when Certificate Transparency logs reveal, that one of Let's Encrypt employees sold a bunch of private keys to third parties. Of course, that won't protect authenticity, but at least, you will avenge it, right?
SSL-protected HTTP is just barely ahead of unencrypted HTTP in terms of transport-level security. But it is being sold as golden bullet, and people like you are the ones to blame.
Having two independent system while destroying traffic savings from a transparent caching system seems like a bad trade off to me.
Consider you're a cloud provider running customer images. If everyone downloaded the same package via https over and over again, the incurred network utilization would be massive (to both you and the debian repository in general) compared to if everyone used http and verified via GPG, all from your transparent squid cache you setup on the local network.
So it's just bad naming. Everywhere to me implies everywhere, not just everywhere in the browser. Regardless, it looks like there are still people confused about it like me discussing in this thread, tho.
I didn't downvote this and this is a valid misunderstanding.
The whole point of having GPG is that you (as the distributor/debian repo/whatever) have already somehow distributed the public key to your clients (customers/debian installations/whatever). Having HTTPS is redundant as it is presumed that initial key distribution was done securely.
Those who you trust with your internet browsing is usually also those who you trust with HTTPS certificates. Eg. Your browser, your operating system, your ISP, et.al are still able to spy on you unless the site uses certificate pinning, which is unfortunately not feasible with Letsencrypt due to certs only lasting 3 months.
I wonder if anyone will be surprised when they learn how HTTPS and HTTP/2 will be used to push more advertising to users and exfiltrate more user data from them than HTTP would ever allow.
Will these "advances" benefit users more than they benefit the companies serving ads, collecting user data and "overseeing the www" generally? Is there a trade-off?
To users, will protecting traffic from manipulation be viewed as a step forward if as a result they only see an increase in ads and data collection?
Even more, perhaps they will have limited ability to "see" the increase in data collection if they have effectively no control over the encryption process. (e.g., too complex, inability to monitor the data being sent, etc.)
> Those devs are gonna be really surprised when they find out that unencrypted connections are routinely tampered with.
Except most big orgs now employ MitM tools like BlueCoat to sniff SSL connections too.
> You have not been paying attention to the hundreds of tools available to make HTTPS painless.
I have, and they don't. They make it easier, but you know what's truly painless? Hosting an html file over HTTP. What happens when Let's Encrypt is down for an extended period? What happens when someone compromises them?
> And real-world attacks that are reported over and over again.
Care to link to a few?
> The problem is that it's not YOUR security, it's other people's.
Oh, so you know better than me what kind of content is on my site? So a static site with my resume needs SSL then to protect the other users?
> Oh, so you know better than me what kind of content is on my site? So a static site with my resume needs SSL then to protect the other users?
Without TLS how do YOU know that the user is receiving your static resume. Any MitM can tamper with the connection and replace your content with something malicious. With properly configured TLS that's simply not possible (with the exception you describe in corporate settings where BlueCoat's cert has to be added to the machine's trust store in order for that sniffing to be possible). Hopefully in the future even that wont be possible.
Oh, so you know better than me what kind of content is on my site? So a static site with my resume needs SSL then to protect the other users?
Absolutely yes. Without that layer of security, anyone looking at your resume could either be served something that's not your resume (to your professional detriment) or more likely, the malware-of-the-week. (Also to your professional detriment).
Do you care for the general safety of web users? Secure your shit. If not for them, for your own career.
So I've heard this argument countless times, and it completely makes sense from a theoretical perspective. Yes, it's very possible for MitM to happen, and that would cause one of the two scenarios you described.
But how likely is it to actually happen? For the former, someone would need to target both you and specifically the person who you think will view your resume, and that's, let's be honest, completely unlikely for most people. The second case I can see happening more in theory as it's less discriminating, but does it actually happen often enough in real life to the point where it's a real concern?
FWIW, I have HTTPS on all my websites (because, as everyone mentioned already, it's dead simple to add) including personal and internal, but I still question the probability of an attack on any of them actually happening.
Sure, I've heard of the Xfinity MitMs which IIRC tracked users in some way. But would that realistically cause any "professional detriment" as expressed by the parent comment? Most users wouldn't even notice it's happening.
Basically, I see it this way:
- You can be MitMed broadly, like the Xfinity case, but the company in question can't really do anything crazy like inject viruses or do something that would cause the user to actually notice because then their ass is going to be on the line when it's exposed that Comcast installed viruses on millions of computers or stole everyone's data.
- Or you can be MitMed specifically, which will cause professional detriment, but would require someone to specifically target you and your users. And I don't see this as that likely for the average Joe.
Really, what I would like to know is: How realistic is it that I, as a site owner, will be adversely affected by the MitM that could theoretically happen to my users on HTTP?
As less and less content is served over HTTP, it becomes more and more realistic for an attacker to simply inject their garbage into every unencrypted connection that has a browser user agent in it.
Consider the websites you view every day.. most of them are probably HTTPS by now.
It's the wild west, basically. Regardless of how likely it is that someone is waiting for you to hit a HTTP site right now so they can screw with it, why even take that risk when the alternative is so easy?
> As less and less content is served over HTTP, it becomes more and more realistic for an attacker to simply inject their garbage into every unencrypted connection that has a browser user agent in it.
I've already covered the general case above. Anyone in a position to intercept HTTP communications like that (into every unencrypted connection) is in a position where if they intercept and do enough to materially harm me or my users through their act, then they will likely be discovered and the world will turn against them. They have far more to lose than to gain by doing something actively malicious that can be perceived by the user. So I don't realistically see it happening.
> Regardless of how likely it is that someone is waiting for you to hit a HTTP site right now so they can screw with it, why even take that risk when the alternative is so easy?
I already said I use HTTPS, so your advice isn't really warranted. I also specifically asked how likely it is, so you can't just "regardless" it away. I get that there's a theoretical risk, and I've already addressed it. But as a thought experiment, it is helpful to know how realistic the threat actually is. So far, I haven't really been convinced it actually is anything other than a theoretical attack vector.
You are making it sound like "injecting random garbage into HTTP" is some new hotness. It have been done since forever. By the way, — email still works that way. But Google and a couple of other corporations would not like you to trample their email-harvesting business, so there is disproportionately less FUD and fear-mongering being spread around email connections.
Internet providers have been injecting ads into websites for years. Hackers and government have been doing same to executables and other forms of unprotected payload.
Hashes, cryptographic signatures, executables signing, Content-Security-Policy, sub-resource integrity — numerous specifications have been created to address integrity of web. There is no indication, that those specifications failed (and in fact, they remain useful even after widespread adoption of HTTPS).
For the most part, integrity of modern web communication is already controlled even in absence of SSL. The only missing piece is somehow verifying integrity of initial HTML page.
"Injection" is the process of inserting content into the payload of a transport stream somewhere along its network path other than the origin. To prevent injection, you simply need to verify the contents of the payload are the same as they were at the origin. There are many ways to do this.
One method is a checksum. Simply provide a checksum of the payload in the header of the message. The browser would verify the checksum before rendering the page. However, if you can modify the payload, you could also modify this header.
The next method is to use a cryptographic signature. By signing the checksum, you can use a public key to verify the checksum was created by the origin. However, if the first transfer of the public key is not secure, an attacker can replace it with their own public key, making it impossible to tell if this is the origin's content.
One way to solve this is with PKI. If a client maintains a list of trusted certificate authorities, it can verify signed messages in a way that an attacker cannot circumvent by injection. Now we can verify not only that the payload has not changed, but also who signed it (which key, or certificate).
Note that this does not require a secure transport tunnel. Your payload is in the clear, and thus can be easily cached and proxied by any intermediary, but they can not change your data. So why don't we do this?
Simple: the people who have the most influence over these technologies do not want plaintext data on the network, even if its authenticity and integrity are assured. They value privacy over all else, to the point of detriment to users and organizations who would otherwise benefit from such capability.
And what happens when the content changes? Cacheability is not always a good thing. Your solution is vulnerable to replay attacks. You could be seeing an outdated version of a resource without knowing it. This is only acceptable for truly static content, which is becoming increasingly rare on the web.
This content should not change, or change very rarely. A bulk of the data on the web is media files and static resources. Until browsers started locking down 3rd party requests, handling these over HTTP was standard. Obviously it was a security problem, but it wouldn't have been with this alternate method.
However, it's not that hard to avoid replay after cache expires. HTTP sends the Date of the response along with Cache-Control instructions. If the headers are also signed they can also be verified by a client. If the client sees that the response has clearly expired, it can discard the document. As a more dirty hack it can also retry it with a new unique query string, or provide it as an HTTP header and token which must be returned in the response.
I would love if null encryption ciphers actually worked in real life, but they don't (for the same reason why plaintext HTTP/2 does not — everyone disabled them under political pressure).
By the way, — signing is not equal to "null encryption". Signing can be done in advance, once. Signed data can be served via sendfile(). It does not incur CPU overhead on each request. Signing does not require communicating with untrusted parties using vulnerable SSL libraries (which can compromise your entire server).
As we speak, your SSL connection may be tampered with. Someone may be using a heardbleed-like vulnerability in the server or your browser (or both). You won't know about this, because you aren't personally auditing the binary data, that goes in and out of wire… Humorously enough, one needs to actively MITM and record connections to audit them. Plaintext data is easier to audit and reason about.
And how do you sign these requests? How do you get browsers to trust the signature? Oh, well, we already have a similar solution that also protects the entire connection from spying... it's called HTTPS.
It's like one apt package and one cronjob away. I think some acme clients even do the Cron handling for you. So, like one command. There is a really great acme client written in bash which is incredibly painless to set up.
Literally in the time you've spent thinking about and composing your reply you could have implemented free, secure TLS for your users.
It's not that easy if you don't want to run public http server. I had to write acme client myself because I didn't find a single one simple enough. I spent weeks doing that, comparing to 5 minutes issuing 3-year certificate from wosign when it was a thing. I hate that Google destroyed every free ssl certificate issuer and pushed their child to further dominate the world.
I don't trust any US company, so it's not any more untrustworthy for me than DigiCert, for example. I'm dropping its name because they were offering free 3-year certificates and it was the best TLS experience I've ever had.
There's a lot of countries I don't trust to keep sensitive data in. But my point is that Wosign was provably untrustworthy, rather than speculation on government interference in other CAs. I saw from your Github that you live in Kazakhstan, I would remind you the government is less than trustworthy as well in regards to digital privacy.
I doubt, that any government is inherently more trustworthy than any other.
It just coincidentally happens, that US controls 100% of root CAs and Kazakhstan (most likely) controls 0. So the later needs more audacious measures, while former can just issue a gag order to Symantec (or whoever is currently active in market).
CA system is inherently vulnerable to government intervention. There is no point in considering defense against state agents in HTTPS vulnerability model. It is busted by default.
What is the point in trusting third parties, if you need to keep trusting them after they were obviously untrustworthy?
The entire world depends on the trust chain for SSL, keeping that chain trustworthy is very important.
Marking non-https sites as non-secure is a result of the network having proven itself to be unreliable. This is both the snowden revelations, as well as the cases of ISPs trying to snoop.
Besides, HTTPS isn't hard to get. Worst case means you install nginx appache or the like to reverse proxy and add in TLS. Things got even simpler when let's encrypt came along. Anyone can get a trusted cert these days.
It isn't your threat model that is important here. It is the users' threat models. Maybe you have full control of that too (the simplest case where that would be true is if you are your only user) but most sites aren't.
The nasty language in reply to your comments is righteous anger. You are advocating to hurt people; the proper response by well-adjusted people to such advocacy is anger.
You will see the same sort of anger at e.g. parents who refuse to get their kids vaccinated (they're my kids, they say; Big Pharma can't make decisions for me, if you want to get your kids vaccinated, that's fine but there's a cost-benefit analysis, I just don't want it forced down my throat). It would be incorrect to conclude that the angry people are the wrong people.
I hear you. Moving to SSL for millions of old websites is a pain in the ass. It's a degree of effort that people often skim over.
Speaking as someone who's maintained a lightweight presence on the Web for over 20 years, I've thought about the tradeoff and I think it is worth it. Our collective original thinking about protocols skipped security and we've been suffering ever since. I was sitting in the NOC at a major ISP when Canter and Siegel spammed Usenet. Ow. Insecure email has cost the world insane amounts of money in the form of spam. Etc., etc., etc.
You and I probably disagree on the cost/benefit analysis here, which is OK. It'd be helpful in discussion if advocates on both sides refrain from assuming zealotry on the other side.
Yeah, I'm not opposed to HTTPS. In fact, the reason I get frustrated is because, like you, I've dealt with it at scale for years. I agree it should be used most places, but what about static documentation sites? What about blogs? I've even used Let's Encrypt a few times, and it seems like a great service. But who wants to set up that machinery for a simple resume site?
That machinery has a cost. With every barrier we throw up on the web, it makes it harder to build a reliable site. I also realize this is an argument I've lost. It's so much easier to just say "HTTPS everywhere" than to examine the tradeoffs.
> It's so much easier to just say "HTTPS everywhere" than to examine the tradeoffs.
This touches on the real point of all this, which doesn't seem to have been contained in any replies to you.
There's no real choice in the matter, https is a requirement if, and that the very big if right there, we truly acknowledge that the network is hostile. With a hostile network the only option is to distrust all non-secure communication.
https isn't about securing the site as you know, it's about securing the transmission of data over the transport layer, and it's needed because the network is hostile.
It doesn't matter one little iota what the data is that's traversing it, as there's no way to determine its importance ahead of time. A resume site might not be of much worth to the creator, but the ecosystem as a whole ends up having to distrust it without a secure transport layer because the hostile network could have altered it.
It doesn't matter the effect of that alteration might be inconsequential, as there's also no way to determine that effect ahead of time. The ecosystems 'defense' is to distrust it entirely.
And that's the situation the browsers/users/all of us are left with. There's is no option but to distrust non-secured communication if the network is hostile.
Yup, the Dreamhost model, and the model at generic cPanel sites (sadly some places with cPanel disable this to drive revenue to their commercial CA partner) is the Right Thing here - one of the options when setting up or modifying your web site is "Free automatic certificates" and then it's the Host's job to make sure that stays working, just like if you pick "Use latest PHP" or "Strip leading www. from hostname". The guy with a blog about carpentry shouldn't need to care about the ACME protocol any more than he cares about how erbium doped optical amplifiers work when calling his grandmother half way around the world. It's just technology.
My favorite part of the internet were always the small hobyist websites. The guy that has an encyclopedic database about Grateful Dead trivia, the other guy that collects pictures of plants. Those people are independent, they're not technical and their 90s looking websites are going to go under because of blanket security policies that don't concern them.
You do realize you're making this complaint on a discussion about a tool that makes HTTPS easier for said small hobbyist websites? I've updated all of my hobby sites using Let's Encrypt, and I really appreciate how it was easy for me while also being good for my users.
If not SSL, then they'd go away at the point some other technical change dropped. Or do you suggest "we" continue using broken protocols forever in order to preserve them? Do you still support telnet to accommodate people who can't handle `ssh-keygen`?
In any case, (a small subset of) the random enthusiast sites and such are close to the only reason I use a browser recreationally anymore. I absolutely agree with you.
The answer isn't to stop fixing things. The answer is to make it easier and cheaper to be secure.
My point is that those sites don't need to be any more secure than they are. A hobbyist website written in HTML in Notepad with only text and images that can be run on IE 5.0 might not require HTTPS and Google and others might change that.
I don't get the notion that some sites don't "need" HTTPS. The threat model it protects against isn't only sensitive information being intercepted, it's also man-in-the-middle attacks that actually change what's delivered. Maybe a hobbyist website only has text and images sitting on its server, but the visitor might receive malware — and that can happen to literally any site served over HTTP.
Plaintext HTTP being fine for delivering public documents might have been true 10 or 20 years ago. Sadly, attacks on and uninvited mutation/corruption of plaintext content has become that super-common (at least in some parts of the world) that you can be almost certain that one or more of your users will be affected by it if you're not taking precautions.
It sucks badly. I'd prefer a less hostile network myself. Even back then there were bad actors but at least you could somewhat count on well-meaning network operators and ISPs. Nowadays it's ISPs themselves that forge DNS replies and willfully corrupt your plaintext traffic to inject garbage ads and tracking crap into it. And whole nation states that do the same but for censoring instead of ad delivery.
Yeah and what do those hobbyists do? They go to a blogging service provider or something like a wiki provider and they put their stuff. That stuff still happens today. And of course those users wouldn't want someone else coming along and tampering with their collection, so https everywhere is a must. And these users won't even know or care.
>Yeah, I realize they weren't competent, but I also realize that it had no practical effect on my site's security
Can you explain why you think Symantec demonstrating incompetence is completely isolated from your Symantec SSL protected website?
I sense a lot of hostility coming from you. It seems like you think we do these things for fun. Do you imagine a bunch of grumpy men get together, drink beer, and pick a new SSL provider to harass and bully?
> At the risk of all my karma, honestly, fuck off.
Thin-skinned immature response aside, what you lack is empathy. You can't possibly understand why someone would take my stance. It's your lack of empathy I despise. Look at the replies to my comment - people are losing their minds. It's this rabid dogma that frightens me, and frankly makes me hate the infosec community in general.
To you, security is the only thing that matters. I don't know where the moral righteousness comes from, but someday you'll realize that your black and white viewpoint should have been more nuanced.
Edit: The profane quote above was edited out by the parent, but clearly there is some animosity and instability there.
Oh, I get it. I've worked with lots of people like you.
As an infosec practitioner, I'm the one that cleans up after the people who claim good current infosec practices are "too hard" or "impractical" or "not cost-effective", which all boil down to sysadmins and developers like you creating negative externalities for people like me. I have heard all of these arguments before. "Oh, we can't risk patching our servers because something might break." "Oh, the millisecond overhead of TLS connection setup is too long and might drive users away." "Oh, this public-facing service doesn't do anything important, so it's no big deal if it gets hacked."
I'm not at all sorry that the wider IT community has raised the standards for good (not best, just good) current infsec practices. If you're going to put stuff out there, for God's sake maintain it especially if it's public-facing. If using the right HTTPS config is that difficult for you, move your stuff behind CloudFront or Cloudflare or something and let them deal with it. If you can't be bothered with some minimal standard of care, you need to exit the IT market.
And good luck finding a job in any industry, in any market, where anyone will think that doing less than the minimal standard, or never improving those minimums, is OK.
But why did it make you so angry? My guess is because my viewpoint is completely unfathomable to you. You can't even believe that someone would advocate for it. In situations like that, I always try and put myself in the shoes of that person. Sometimes they are wrong, and sometimes they have a point. But it's always a useful exercise.
To your parent comment -
No, I don't think it's a cabal of "grumpy old men" - I think it's a cabal of morally righteous security-minded people who have never worked for small companies or realize that most dev teams don't have the time to deal with all this forced entropy.
You care about security, I care about making valuable software. Security can be a roadblock to releasing valuable software on time and within budget. If my software doesn't transmit sensitive data, I surely do not want to pay the SSL tax if I'm on a deadline and it's cutting in to my margins.
What the gently caress does encrypting an HTTP connection have to do with morals or age? You are way outside the realm of making sense, man, and offer commentary that is openly harmful to securing the Internet. Please step back and revisit your woefully misinformed opinion on this.
Most people who advocate for security, including myself, have worked on small teams and understand the resources involved. Putting a TLS certificate on your shit with LE takes minutes. Doing it through another CA is minutes, in a lot of cases. You spent more time downloading, installing, and configuring Apache, then configuring whatever backend you want to run, and writing your product or blog post or whatever it is you’re complaining about securing.
Honestly, in the time you’ve been commenting here, you could have gotten TLS working on several sites. Managing TLS for an operations person is like knowing git for a software developer. It’s a basic skill and is not difficult. If it’s truly that difficult for your team, (a) God help you when someone hacks you, they probably already have and (b) there are services available that will front you with a TLS certificate in even less time than it takes to install one. Cloudflare and done.
> Security can be a roadblock to releasing valuable software on time and within budget.
Great, you've pinpointed it. Step two is washing it off. Ignoring security directly impacts value, and I'm mystified that you don't see this.
> Putting a TLS certificate on your shit with LE takes minutes. Doing it through another CA is minutes
if you have one server, yes.
else it's the other way around, because if you have multiple servers you need to do a lot of fancy stuff.
And LE also does not work in your internal network if you do not have some stuff publicy accessible.
And it also does not work against different ports.
Oh and it's extremly hard to have a proxy tls <-> tls server that talks to tls backends, useful behind NAT if you only have one IP, but multiple services behind multiple domains.
You can use Let's Encrypt certificates for non-publicly reachable hosts by using the dns-01 challenge type. That, of course, means that you need some way of properly automating your DNS infrastructure to add the necessary TXT records which, admittely, is sadly not the case in many organizations. It's a solvable problem, though.
I don't understand your last point. Where do you see the problem with letting a reverse proxy talk to a TLS backend?
You get the requested server name from the SNI extension and can use that to multiplex multiple names onto a single IP address. The big bunch of NATty failure cases apply to plaintext HTTP just as well, no?
In the most common setups, the reverse proxy usually terminates the TLS session and uses a different connection to make requests to the backend servers (e.g. nginx proxy_pass directive).
This means the backend server certificates are only ever exposed to your reverse proxy. There's no need to use publicly-trusted certificates for that. Just generate your own ones and make them known to the proxy (either by private CA cert or by explicitly trusting the public keys).
This new version issues wildcard certificates. Get one certificate. Use Puppet, Chef, Ansible, Salt, Bolt, multissh, or GNU parallel to put it on multiple servers for that domain.
If you need lots of different domains, use one of the auto certificate tools.
If you can't use one of those yourself, consider hosting on a platform that can automatically do this for you for all your sites, like cPanel (disclaimer: I work for cPanel, Inc).
If your stuff is never publicly accessible because you're in a fully private network, just run your own CA and add it to the trust root of your clients.
If you need an SNI proxy, search for 'sniproxy' which does exist.
If you're so small that you can't afford an infrastructure person, a consultant, or a few hours to set such things up yourself, then maybe you should shorten the HN thread bemoaning doing it and use the time to learn how.
> I think it's a cabal of morally righteous security-minded people who have never worked for small companies or realize that most dev teams don't have the time to deal with all this forced entropy.
This is just one anecdote, but I worked at a company small enough that I was the only developer/ops person. Time spent managing HTTPS infrastructure couldn't have been more than a handful of hours a year.
What is so painful to you about running your website(s) on HTTPS?
That has to be balanced against the potential pain for users who will be accessing that software whilst vulnerable to having that information snooped or modified. Perhaps for social engineering purposes, perhaps to serve up the latest zero-day, perhaps just for the lulz... who knows?
SSL has a history of being a pain in the ass. There are a lot of pain in the ass implementations out there. Everyone gets that.
At the same time, it's never been easier, and basic care for what you're serving your users demands taking that extra step. What Google is doing amounts to disclosing something that's an absolute fact. Plain HTTP is insecure (in the most objective and unarguable way possible), and it is unsuitable for most traffic given the hostile nature of the modern web.
Do you want your users being intercepted, engineered, or served malware on? If the answer is no, secure it. The equation is that simple. Any person or group of people who in 2018 declines to secure their traffic is answering that question in the affirmative and should be treated accordingly!
Only because having your stuff SSL'ed (not snoopable) is a binary state. And while you might have business reasons for not doing it, putting those above your user's safety is just plain negligent. In the same way that storing plaintext passwords and sending them around via email, or using SMS as a two factor authentication method is negligent.
So in a way, you're right. I'm not sure why that's a negative.
If a given software can't handle TLS it's a fundamental problem of the software / development process and not the fault of the infosec community. Update/change the used libraries and everything will be fine.
I've switched a whole distributed system from plain communication to TLS secured connections just yesterday.
Yes sometimes it's pain to solve some TLS based errors and I also miss the opportunity to debug each transmitted packet with tcpdump but I also appreciate it that the continuous focus on TLS improves the tooling and libraries and each day it get's a little bit easier to setup a secure encrypted connection.
One of the wonderful aspects of this, that no-ones pointed out yet, is that these can used for INTERNAL domains, without you having to run your own internal CA.
i.e. lets say your internal network DNS domain is 'my-company-lan.com' - all you have to do is ensure that 'my-company-lan.com' is also registered in public DNS, and then you can secure ALL your internal services using a free LE wildcard cert, that's automatically trusted by all platforms and browsers. For some companies that's going to be a BIG cost and resources saving.
 but not actually used for any public facing services.
It's at this point that I swear profusely at Microsoft yet again, for pushing the concept of '.local' domain suffixes a decade ago. As it's not a legal TLD, I can't get certs for any of my internal services without rolling my own internal CA, which only works automatically for Windows domain machines, and not for anything else.
Unfortunately, yes. I've been lucky enough to be able to get domain renames done in Exchange 2003 environments (which is supported) or in non-Exchange environments. Migrating to a new domain because of a poorly-chosen name is a real pain. (I have one Customer who has a "." in their NetBIOS domain name. That creates some interesting kinds of hell-- completely breaks the NPS RADIUS server in Windows 2012.)
I agree that it’s terrible, but the reason they used to recommend .local goes back to their Small Businness Server in the 1990s when it was very expensive and bureaucratic to register a domain - not something they could demand of their target market. MS’s error was their failure to update their recommendations after domain registration became cheap and easy.
Is there a "standard" TLD for internal use that will also fit this requirement?
The problem here is that there's no such thing as domain ownership, only domain renting. You forget to pay your bill (read: someone loses an email) and a core part of your infrastructure is up in smoke, or worse, taken over by a squatter.
You have multiple authorisation mechanism. The one you are referring too is http but you could also use DNS (you add a pre-agreed string as a TXT entry). Wildcard requires dns validation whereas domain specific certificates can use both.
Instead of fetching the secret via a direct HTTP call, the secret is fetched from the DNS server (eg. _acme-challenge.example.com.) - where the DNS server is usually separate from the server getting the cert. This can be done with ACMEv1 for certs, and now is required for the new wildcard certs.
Most clients that support DNS-01 can use nsupdate or APIs of public DNS providers to make this an automated process.
Thanks! This looks awesome. Can i automate it as well?
I have been toying a little with wildcard using certbot on my Ubuntu OpenVPN appliance, but was a bit unsuccessful at the moment.
Maybe i should just try and build a very tiny virtual sever that does nothing but spit out a wildcard domain certificate to some predefined destinations to have it used in anything that wants a certificate. Could be beneficial to a (large) infrastructure to have an always-ready certificate to use for free. Dunno if EV validation will uphold though.
I'll happily pay money to get a cert that expires in 3 years instead of 90 days. Some of us don't feel like faffing about with cert renewal every quarter. (I know there are tools and clients that can "make it seamless" - until the ACME endpoints are down or something).
Really long expiration certs are a security issue. The main reason being that if the cert is compromised, there is a much longer window that it can be exploited. With a 90 day window, even if it is compromised, it will stop working soon.
Even in the case that it is compromised and you know it, your only option is certificate revocation. And you are in big trouble if you are relying on revocation because most clients do not keep very up to date with the CRL.
Not only for security, but the 90 days is to encourage automation. And most clients like certbot will check everyday, and if the cert is within 30 days of renewal, it attempts to renew. If letsencrypt is down, it will try again the next day. So you have an entire month before an outage would affect you.
>I'll happily pay money to get a cert that expires in 3 years instead of 90 days.
No way. Every time I've worked with an organization with three years expiry it's guaranteed they have no idea, after three years how to even renew the cert. They are effectively longer in many cases than the hiring cycle and for larger organizations can be a complete nightmare. No one wants to invest in time in automation, training, tracking, etc., because it's so far down the road. The 90 day model makes much more sense because it requires automation. In terms of the ACME endpoints being down, I'm not going to say that won't happen but renewal starts 30 days before the cert expires and if Let's Encrypt's ACME endpoints are down for 30 days or longer there's a good chance we are all dealing with something far more dire than cert renewal at that point.
I have my own domain name servers, so it wasn't hard to wire up DNS-01 support.
Anyway, the client has been running daily out of a cron job, updating certs on remote servers as they need to be, with very little intervention from me, for well over a year now. It's just about a set-it-and-forget-it setup.
Let's Encrypt is intended to be fully automated and you shouldn't have to faff about with it every quarter, it should do its thing all by itself.
Well then you are two weeks late. The maximum lifetime for a certificate is now 825 days, most commercial CAs are selling only 1 or 2 year certificates, with the extra days used to allow early renewals to "carry over" a few weeks.
I'm in the same boat. I haven't found a guide for an easy and flawless way to automate cert renewal with letsencrypt when you use multiple services over different servers. For my wildcard, I use the same cert for:
1. Ubuntu VPS #1:
a. dovecot ssl
b. postfix ssl
c. apache multiple virtual domains ssl
d. pureftpd ssl
2. Ubuntu VPS #2:
a. apache multiple virtual domains ssl
3. Microsoft Server
a. IIS multiple virtual domains ssl
I'm just saying how I'm running things now. Totally open to better ways. Right now I pay $135 for a two year wildcard cert (very small business here). It takes 1 hour of my time to update the cert for all these applications. 1 hour of time and $135 every two years is not a lot. When I do a cursory look of how to reliably automate letsencrypt across all applications, there are people who have created scripts that help, but it does not give me reassurance that everything will run smoothly every 90 days. I am waiting for letsencrypt to get first-class support in dovecot, postfix, pureftpd, and IIS, so it can be set and forget, and I know long term support will be there.
I never understood why DNS providers are so reluctant to offer standards-based access, like nsupdate(1). It's easy to set up, it can do everything, it's secure, requires no custom anything and it just works.
One option is to run your own BIND instance configured however you like, and pay for one or more secondary DNS services to sync off it. You can even hide your own BIND instance from everyone outside your network and just point your NS records at the secondaries, if you’re worried about misconfiguration/DoS attacks/etc.
I started using Cloudflare just for their DNS API - the dynDNS providers baked into my router's firmware went under so I started pointing the DNS record to my home dynamic IP with a cronjob that called CF's API.
Not sure if it will work for your use case, but you can also CNAME the _acme-challenge record to a different domain (or a subdomain with a separate zonefile), dedicated only to authorizing certificates.
I'm intrigued. What kind of app that you could host on heroku requires wildcard certificates? Bearing in mind that heroku can't really support wildcard subdomains for a single app. Each custom subdomain for an app needs to be added to the app. And then if you enable Automated Certificate Management for the app (which uses LetsEncrypt under the covers), they'll happily fetch a cert for each listed subdomain.
And Heroku already supports wildcard certs (that you need to provide yourself) if you use the SSL addon.
The only significant concern I have is that if LE were to essentially "take over" the CA industry, you know, due to being free, and awesome, we'd have a massive single point of failure for the entire Internet's security model.
My biggest peeve with the whole "HTTPS Everywhere" push is not the general notion of using encryption, but that the encryption is annoyingly coupled with the CA system, which is terrible for many reasons.
The encryption part is easy -- you don't need CAs for that -- but they're a necessary evil when it comes to verifying ownership. You need to delegate trust to someone, otherwise using the internet becomes too cumbersome.
Automated SSL providers effectively mitigate the idea of "verifying ownership" or "delegating trust", because for example, someone can buy a domain like... googIe.com, get an SSL cert for it, and it's "valid". We're right back to the same level of security of you just checking that the browser bar points at the domain you actually intended to go to. (In this example, bear in mind, Google doesn't use an EV cert, so they'd be equally valid to a web browser. And a lot of EV certs I believe are getting distrusted soon as it is.)
CAs seem like a system that really doesn't work today, we've seen multiple times that many of these CAs aren't worth delegating trust to to begin with, and it causes an unnecessary cost and burden upon just... encrypting traffic.
> We're right back to the same level of security of you just checking that the browser bar points at the domain you actually intended to go to.
So you’re sitting in a cafe, and you go to Facebook.com. Lo and behold, someone’s installed a MITM proxy on the router, that presents its own encryption key instead of Facebook’s, and your browser has no way to tell this because the CA system isn’t a thing. They now have your password, can steal your session to spam your friends, whatever else. How do you prevent that?
Idea that's been floated before: TOFU plus a distributed network of people automatically sharing what cert fingerprints they encounter. Chances are high that you already hit Facebook on your $device, and if you all of a sudden retrieved a certificate that didn't match the one you had before, or that most other people online hadn't seen, halt and throw up the warnings.
Given the exploitability, laziness, general failure to follow best practices, not to mention misaligned incentives that we're seeing from major CA vendors, having centralized CAs seems like an ever-worsening solution.
It would wind up being visible to a large chunk of users simultaneously. Furthermore, since we're relying on the wisdom of the crowd rather than a true CA, you'd be able to trust companies' own CAs rather than delegating off to a not-so-trusted third party.
In other words, if someone claiming to be Facebook has told a significant number of people all over the world that Facebook's cert fingerprint is ABCD124, and that fingerprint matches what they're getting presented, it's probably legitimate. We can add additional points for the cert signer being the same one as the previous cert, lack of listing in a CRL, cert transparency logs, etc.
There's no reason this system couldn't bolt on top of the existing CA infrastructure to avoid a bootstrapping problem either.
It adds a probability value into the mix, in other words. That value has always existed, but now we expose it to the user in some way and stop pretending that it does not.
Presumably, someone could MITM a CA, and get their own domain validated certificate to another site. The cert may protect you from MITM in a coffee shop, but it doesn't necessarily help you against state-level actors.
The Public Key Pinning Extension for HTML5 (HPKP) is a security feature that tells a web client to associate a specific cryptographic public key with a certain web server to decrease the risk of MITM attacks with forged certificates.
HPKP makes administration more complicated but if your threat model includes state-level actors, it prevents them from getting a CA to issue a valid certificate for your domain.
It's worth noting that Chrome has plans to deprecate header-based pins in a few months and static pins (the ones baked into binaries) at some point after their Certificate Transparency policy covers all non-expired certificates. That'll make Firefox the only mainstream browser with HPKP support. (Mozilla hasn't announced their intentions so far.)
Let's Encrypt is developing this feature but it might be a little premature to call it "standard"—it's not specified in the Baseline Requirements and I'm not sure whether there's any CA that has announced it as a part of all certificate issuance.
Most CAs aren't automated :) I believe any that do ensure that DNS requests are tried from multiple different locations to prevent this happening. Though you're right, the standards haven't caught up yet.
I wasn't referring to EV certificates, just to verifying simple ownership of the domain for the purposes of MITM and other attacks of that kind. Let's Encrypt would inform you that the page that appears when you visit googIe.com was indeed served by the owner of that domain (barring server compromises or cert leaks, but that's a separate issue). LE and "basic" certificates do not attempt to answer the question of who owns the domain -- that's also an entirely separate problem.
it's possibly a good target for decentralization + multisig. decentralization so a CA never "goes down", multisig so that a certificate needs N signers, thus if a private key gets hacked then the cert isn't compromised. the hard part seems to be verifying the ownership and integrating with the existing web (the oracle problem)
Does LE have a secure and resilient infrastructure? Like they have multiple sites where they can run all operations from in event of a natural disaster, for example. How about in the event of a government that decides to take it over as a part of their national infrastructure, sounds crazy but we're putting a lot of eggs in their basket.
That's one scenario. Or maybe they run out of funding and need to shut down. Maybe they end up needing to shut down an old API before everyone is ready. Maybe they have a bug and issue a bunch of subtly broken certs (say, not enough entropy).
It's a concern whenever a large portion of decentralized infrastructure has a single centralized dependency. Even if that dependency is awesome and doing great work right now.
Ideally, there would be several free CAs that all used the ACME protocol. But somebody's got to pay for that and somebody's got to go through the effort of setting it up when Let's Encrypt already works really well.
Can you elaborate as to why that would disqualify them? I don't think most of us are intimately familiar with the Baseline Requirements, or want to wade through 60-some pages to figure out your reasoning.
Three years is much too long. Last year Google's Ryan Sleevi basically said this needs to be much shorter, it takes far too long to fix anything properly with such long-lived certs. Ryan pointed out that it they couldn't get traction by agreement then Chrome can totally just be modified to count certs as expiring after 90 days and that's that. Unsurprisingly CAs did not go "OK we'll do what Ryan suggests, 90 days it is" but they also didn't try to stick with the status quo of 39 months and call Ryan's bluff. The compromise that got enough votes was 825 days for all certs after 1 March 2018.
For future reference - the BRs have a section with a timeline, it's great for finding upcoming or recent changes significant enough that the CAs needed a deadline.
So a bunch of centrally controlled monopolies agreed to realign their offerings to maximize profit and gain greater control over end-user.
They also pretend, that compromising 3-months certificate is "ok" (or at least less harmful, than compromising a year-long certificate), when in practice there is no reason to assume so, — 3 months is more than enough for any real-life eavesdropper.
Firstly, CA/B explicitly can't talk about pricing or product offerings, because a group of businesses that collaborate on setting prices or product offerings is called a Cartel and is illegal (the example you're probably thinking of, OPEC, exists because its members are sovereign entities, and thus enjoy total immunity from the law). When they meet in person the CA/B members always begin by reading out the rules that lay out what mustn't be discussed for this reason.
Secondly, the idea is not at all that compromising 3-month certs is "ok". Instead Ryan's focus is on the pace of change. During 2016 CAs agreed to use the Ten Blessed Methods for validation, in 2017 that agreement became a concrete rule (thanks to Mozilla) but a 39 month certificate issued under the prior validation status quo would still be trusted until mid-2020.
Historically what has happened is that there's a grace period, and then CAs are supposed to go back and revoke any certificates still outstanding that break the new rules. But this is error-prone, back in early 2017 you can see the list of violations I found while checking that certificates for now prohibited "internal" names were revoked as required, each CA had excuses for why they'd missed some, but the overall lesson is that things will be mised. So Ryan doesn't want to rely on grace periods, he wants a shorter window of validity for the certificates.
MD5 and SHA-1 is the go-to example for this stuff. We expect already that SHA-2 (e.g. SHA-256 used currently in certificates) will fall the same way as the others, because it's the same construction, so we're going to be doing this again in perhaps 5-10 years. But with 39 month certificates the _minimum_ time from changing the rules to getting rid of the problem is 39 months, if it takes a few months to agree what to do, the total may be closer to 4 years. That's a very long time in cryptographic research, too long to predict what's coming. 90 days would be much better from this perspective.
It's a very nice feature, but you can't actually get the cert to use on your own servers or devices. You can only use it with AWS services, like their load balancers and Cloudfront. It makes a lot of sense that they do it this way, it makes it very easy to keep secure, since you never get the key. However it doesn't solve the same problems that Let's Encrypt does, and that's ok.
Why do they need to support Wildcard Certificates for this? They have already starting rolling out https for custom domain GitHub Pages using LetsEncrypt - check your settings for an Enforce HTTPS option. All my GitHub Pages have it now.
That's great. I just checked and it isn't available/enabled here yet. I'm wondering if GitHub doesn't enable their own SSL if a user is providing that through a service like Cloudflare... perhaps I should disable the latter and see if that makes a difference.
Yes. Wildcard certificates are useful primarily as an alternative to manually managing many certificates. But in the age of automation (now), LE wildcard certificates are only really useful to avoid rate limits, which is 20 certificates per week per set of names.
Key compromise for a single site is much less disruptive than losing control of a key that protects hundreds or thousands of sites. Generally you want to keep your scope smaller, it's safer. Rather than blanket-verify everything. Wildcards also makes it more difficult for you to see what of your names is going through CT logs.
Caddy will support wildcard certificates, but most users will not need them, because already Caddy can obtain certificates "on demand" - dynamically, during the TLS handshake. Again, the main reason for using wildcards at this point would be to reduce pressure against LE rate limits.
I imagine so, too. If you have N machines each serving a different site, better to have each only have a key valid for its site so there's less impact from one of them being compromised.
btw, in that scenario, even if the sites all share an IP address, you can use a TCP-level proxy that supports doing the TLS SNI exchange to determine where to send the connection on, so the proxy doesn't need any of the keys and the encryption is end-to-end.
They would need to both hack your DNS entries and have access to the private key of the pair for which the certificate was signed. Having access to the private key probably indicates a significant hole in the site's infrastructure so that is more of a concern than DNS.
Of course such access may be easier for a disgruntled internal actor so it is a risk worth considering (and mitigating via proper separation of concerns/access).
Not sure how the availability of wildcard certs changes that scenario, if I can set the DNS record for secure-payments.yourbusiness.com then I can get a non-wildcard cert for it and get on with the spamming straight away
I think it's somewhat difficult to get a valid (CA-valid) certificate for a domain you don't own, though. At least, that's what the job of the CAs is: to verify that the certs they're issuing are for the actual owner of yourbusiness.com.
I thought that was the case, until CloudFlare issued a cert for a subdomain of mine without a single email round-trip or even notification.
Any DNS-based validation is contingent on full DNS control, and that does mean FULL. CNAME records are absolute, if I CNAME foo to xyz then I'm trusting xyz 100%. I won't get an email round-trip or CAA ping for the certificate unless I'm looking for it, because CNAME implies that all things that apply to xyz apply to anything pointed at it. So the CAA record for xyz applies, not the CAA record for foo - it's not even valid to have any other record types for the same name as a CNAME record, and CAA resolution stops if it gets a valid response versus walking up to the domain root.
To be clear: CloudFlare issued a perfectly valid certificate for a perfectly valid use case, it just bothers me that I couldn't tell it was issued until after-the-fact by seeing it in CT logs, and couldn't have prevented it from being issued by the mechanisms that seem to be built for that.
Nope, DV certs just verify that you control the domain (i.e you can place arbitrary content in a specific location). You don't need to own the domain otherwise SSL would be a lot harder for mysite.hostingcompany.com type providers.
On the face of it wildcard certs seem easy to implement - just match anything in place of the * - but clearly that's not the case as it took years to complete, anyone mind sharing some of the subtle challenges and complexities involved
It didn't take us years to implement. We didn't internally decide to support wildcards until around May 2017 - it wasn't a foregone conclusion that we would ever support them. We didn't start technical work on wildcards until late 2017.
Specifying and implementing ACMEv2 took a while, that was a lot of work. Adding wildcard support on top of that wasn't trivial but it wasn't nearly as much work.
If you are using wildcard it doesn't need to be integrated with IIS. Use acmesharp which has a nice powershell interface (doesn't support wildcards yet). Then loading the certificate in the certificate store and assigning it to a website should be fairly easy in powershell.
Nah, I use a lot of SAN certificates; e.g. when a customer has 10 domains, and you want all of them to redirect to one, you have 1 site with just an SSL binding, and 1 site with all other domains and the non-SSL binding. That's a scenario that f's up a lot.
I created sewer, which is a letsencrypt client that you can use both as a (minimalistic) python library or as a command line application.
And I just added ACME v2 support. Check it out,
I did not see it on the forum, but seeing that the wildcard feature requires DNS-01 challenge for getting the certificates, does it mean automatic renewal is impossible without DNS api ? (or is it possible to renew without the dns challenge ? )
I'm mainly just trying to solve an issue where I've got end users who think there's a security problem because they've typed www.myorg.example.org instead of myorg.example.org and the wildcard DNS entry in Route53 picks it up...which directs the user to an Insecure error.
Trying to figure out how to get Route53 to stop the wildcard at the top level or get a wildcard cert that will go down the path.
If you don't verify who controls the IP space, then if you can control the DNS, you can generate certs. Certs that appear valid to unsuspecting users.
Putting that kind of trust in DNS is pretty crazy considering how insecure most DNS setups are. Not to mention general attacks on DNS. There's even a potential chicken and egg problem, if you need DNS to secure your HTTPS, but you use HTTPS to manage your DNS.
What's really crazy too is it seems like this can't even be avoided. Even if I'm not using Let's Encrypt, if someone owns my DNS, they can use Let's Encrypt to get valid certs for my domain. That's insane.
If I "own your DNS" wouldn't I just change them all to an IP space I control anyway? (If that was a requirement).
Unless I'm missing something, requiring "owning the IP space" seems to be an impossible requirement to fulfil. I'm on a virtual host in Azure/AWS/Linode I have no way of proving I own the IP (because I don't).
As noted above, DNS forgery attacks against the ACME server can result in the server making incorrect decisions about domain control and thus mis-issuing certificates. Servers SHOULD perform DNS queries over TCP, which provides better resistance to some forgery attacks than DNS over UDP.
An ACME-based CA will often need to make DNS queries, e.g., to validate control of DNS names. Because the security of such validations ultimately depends on the authenticity of DNS data, every possible precaution should be taken to secure DNS queries done by the CA. It is therefore RECOMMENDED that ACME-based CAs make all DNS queries via DNSSEC-validating stub or recursive resolvers. This provides additional protection to domains which choose to make use of DNSSEC.
An ACME-based CA must use only a resolver if it trusts the resolver and every component of the network route by which it is accessed. It is therefore RECOMMENDED that ACME-based CAs operate their own DNSSEC-validating resolvers within their trusted network and use these resolvers both for both CAA record lookups and all record lookups in furtherance of a challenge scheme (A, AAAA, TXT, etc.).
If you're concerned about DNS security you can use DNSSEC and Let's Encrypt will cheerfully require DNSSEC signed answers.
If your situation really is that you have unsecured DNS that routinely gets hacked and you just sort of muddle among somehow with users frequently getting phished, malware downloaders, and so on, well, I guess Let's Encrypt doesn't magically solve the trouble you've stepped in.
I'm not quite sure how to answer this. DNS is used as ground truth for an enormous amount of certificate issuance by a broad range of CAs. This has been true for many years. Let's Encrypt didn't invent domain validation or the notion of relying on DNS as a basis for issuing DV certificates.
Honestly, it just hadn't occurred to me at all that DNS was the only thing stopping a blackhat from generating valid certs and siphoning or modifying traffic without anyone's knowledge. And users literally can't stop this other than to only accept EV certs, breaking most of the web. This is pretty nutty.
At the very least, a public key in WHOIS should be required to generate certs. Why in the world isn't this being done? And is there some way Let's Encrypt can start checking for this (to not issue invalid certs for domains that do list a public key), so maybe the above insanity can be stemmed?
> At the very least, a public key in WHOIS should be required to generate certs. Why in the world isn't this being done? And is there some way Let's Encrypt can start checking for this (to not issue invalid certs for domains that do list a public key), so maybe the above insanity can be stemmed?
I would welcome an authenticated channel to domain registrars, and I would welcome making checking it mandatory for CAs. I think the lack of this is an unfortunate gap, although I don't think we've seen the epidemic of misissuance that you've worried about.
In order to make this happen, it would probably require some coordination between ICANN and the CA/Browser Forum. You can become an Interested Party at the CA/Browser Forum yourself in order to propose this kind of mechanism, or you can find an existing Member or Interested Party to bring it up.
I already participate as an Interested Party and I could bring it up eventually but I'm currently working on certificates for Tor onion services, and I'd rather get that finished before taking on something else.
There may have been previous discussions of this idea in some forum, but I don't know for sure where.
By the way, DNSSEC plus DNS CAA can already allow a domain registrant to use cryptographic means to forbid issuance by unauthorized CAs, and checking this is already mandatory for CAs.
Thanks for pointing that out, I wasn't aware of it.
From Wikipedia: "As of February 2018, Qualys reports that 2.9% of the 150,000 most popular websites use CAA records."
So, about 97% of the most popular websites are currently vulnerable to having valid domain certs generated for their domains if their DNS is compromised, or if the CA doesn't strongly validate DNS responses.
Well, again, DNS has been treated as the source of ground truth for many PKI purposes most of the time for years. It's not new to Let's Encrypt in any way. And it's been a requirement in order to achieve this:
And domain registrants and site operators are extremely heterogeneous in ways that could make cert issuance extremely difficult if we made applicants do something new and manual, especially in the offline world.
On the other hand, I've also written skeptical articles about PKI and worried about the fragility of Internet security. Your concerns aren't misplaced, in that a lot of the stuff we rely on is super-fragile.
But in many ways, it's been getting better over time as CAs' power has been getting more and more circumscribed by new rules and technical mechanisms. We have Baseline Requirements amendments that give CAs less discretion in their operations and require more transparency from them. We have CT, we have CAA, we have must-staple, we have databases that researchers can use to find problems. (For a while we also had HPKP.)
So I'd urge you to take your passion about this issue and work on some more security mechanisms to improve the infrastructure, because there's lots more that can be done.
Also, if you come up with good new deployable mechanisms, Ryan Sleevi will be glad to help you make them mandatory for CAs. :-)
While I appreciate your encouragement, I really dislike the trend of everyone using HTTPS. It's wasteful, it's inconvenient, it's unnecessary, it's overly complex, and it doesn't even provide much real security. People still get hacked, corporations still leak data, the governments of the world continue to spy on our digital emissions. But HTTPS gives everyone a nice fuzzy comfy warm blanket of security to wrap themselves around and forget about the pale reality of life on the internet. (My apologies, I've been really into Russian literature lately)
I don't think anybody would want to implement the kinds of technology and solutions I would provide, because every time I bring them up (in forums like this one, and others), people either ignore them or argue against them, and I have no interest in pushing large boulders up hills.
But I would like to thank you for your work. I appreciate that you all are trying to make things better.
> it's inconvenient, it's unnecessary, it's overly complex, and it doesn't even provide much real security. People still get hacked, corporations still leak data, the governments of the world continue to spy on our digital emissions. But HTTPS gives everyone a nice fuzzy comfy warm blanket of security to wrap themselves around and forget about the pale reality of life on the internet.
Yes, it's inconvenient, and people will still get hacked, but it's also getting easier to do, it _does_ help, and as Snowden showed, encryption really does help deter governments from spying.
I think it's currently unfair to https websites that non-https websites aren't considered insecure.
How do you add that public key to the WHOIS register - Via your domain registrar (and it would have to be updateable/changeable outside of renewal cycles). Who is your DNS provider 90% of the time? Your domain registrar...
How would you go about verifying the domain from who controls the "IP space"?
A cloud provider/datacenter controls the IP space in the majority of cases.
If someone owns your DNS, they can use almost any CA to get valid certs for your domain (apart from EV only ones). That's kind of how Domain Certs work. "A domain-validated certificate (DV) is an X.509 digital certificate typically used for Transport Layer Security (TLS) where the identity of the applicant has been validated by proving some control over a DNS domain"
If this is something that worries you, then you should only trust sites that have Extended Validation certificates.
Exactly. Domain verified certificates guarantee one thing and one thing only. The data transmitted is encrypted and cannot be tampered with. That's it. They do not guarantee you are communicating with who you think you are.
But to be honest if your DNS service is compromised, you have bigger problems.
The whole point of TLS is to provide privacy, integrity, and authority. Having a secured connection is pointless if it's a connection to an attacker. Oh, great, nobody can spy on my connection to the NSA.
All DNS is supposed to do is to point you at the server to get your connection from. It isn't supposed to mediate the security of the connection.
This is back to the old chicken-and-egg of public key crypto: public key connections are secure, as long as you provide the initial host key in a secure, out-of-bound method. If an attacker can circumvent this and inject their own initial host key, they can MITM. Hence why PKI exists: to prevent an outside service from defeating the security of the connection. But apparently, DNS can compromise the connection, by allowing attackers to just generate certs willy-nilly if they can guess your GoDaddy account password.
By "verifying who controls the IP space", do you mean verifying control over the IP a domain resolves to? In that case, what you're missing here is that control over DNS lets you alter that IP address to whatever you'd like. The attacker will have no difficulty demonstrating control over an IP address they own.
The only significant concern I have is that if LE were to essentially "take over" the CA industry, you know, due to being free, and awesome, we'd have a massive single point of failure for the entire Internet's security model.
My biggest peeve with the whole "HTTPS Everywhere" push is not the general notion of using encryption, but that the encryption is annoyingly coupled with the CA system, which is terrible for many reasons.