Snooping on government HTTPS

As was reported by some Swedish bloggers, and I found out thanks to kryptoblog, it seems the members of the Swedish parliament all access the internet via a HTTP proxy. And not only that, they seem to access HTTPS sites using the same proxy and while a lot of the netizens of the world do this, the members of the Swedish parliament have an IT department that is more big-brotherish than most: they decided they “needed” to snoop on the network traffic even for HTTPS connections – and how do you accomplish this you may ask?

Simple! The proxy simply terminates the SSL connection, then fetches the remote HTTPS document and run-time generates a “faked” SSL cert for the peer that is signed by a CA that the client trusts and then delivers that to the client. This does require that the client has got a CA cert installed locally that makes it trust certificates signed by the “faked” CA but I figure the parliament’s IT department “help” its users to this service.

Not only does this let every IT admin there be able to snoop on user names and passwords etc, it also allows for Man-In-The-Middle attacks big-time as I assume the users will be allowed to go to HTTPS sites using self-signed certificates – but they probably won’t even know it!

The motivation for this weird and intrusive idea seems to be that they want to scan the traffic for viruses and other malware.

If I were a member of the Swedish parliament I would be really upset and I would uninstall the custom CA and I would seriously consider accessing the internet using an ssh tunnel or similar. But somehow I doubt that many of them care, and the rest of them won’t be capable to take counter-measures against this.

Solaris 10 ships libcurl

I fell over this document named “What’s New in the Solaris 10 10/08 Release” and it includes this funny little quote towards the end:

C-URL – The C-URL Wrappers Library

C-URL is a utility library that provides programmatic access to the most common Internet protocols such as, HTTP, FTP, TFTP, SFTP, and TELNET. C-URL is also extensively used in various applications.

The project is cURL, the tool is curl and the library is libcurl. There’s nothing named C-URL and it isn’t any “wrappers library”… And the list of protocols is also funny since it includes 6 protocols while a modern libcurl supports 13 different ones, and also if you build libcurl to support SFTP you also get SCP (which the list doesn’t include) etc.

It just looks so very sloppy to me. But hey, what do I know?