Bamboozling certificate authorities with BGP

Henry Birge-Lee, Yixin Sun, Anne Edmundson, Jennifer Rexford, Prateek Mittal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) protects users from malicious man-in-the-middle attacks by having trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) vouch for the domain names of servers on the Internet through digitally signed certificates. Ironically, the mechanism CAs use to issue certificates is itself vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks by network-level adversaries. Autonomous Systems (ASes) can exploit vulnerabilities in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to hijack traffic destined to a victim's domain. In this paper, we rigorously analyze attacks that an adversary can use to obtain a bogus certificate. We perform the first real-world demonstration of BGP attacks to obtain bogus certificates from top CAs in an ethical manner. To assess the vulnerability of the PKI, we collect a dataset of 1.8 million certificates and find that an adversary would be capable of gaining a bogus certificate for the vast majority of domains. Finally, we propose and evaluate two countermeasures to secure the PKI: 1) CAs verifying domains from multiple vantage points to make it harder to launch a successful attack, and 2) a BGP monitoring system for CAs to detect suspicious BGP routes and delay certificate issuance to give network operators time to react to BGP attacks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th USENIX Security Symposium
PublisherUSENIX Association
Pages833-849
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133045
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event27th USENIX Security Symposium - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Aug 15 2018Aug 17 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 27th USENIX Security Symposium

Conference

Conference27th USENIX Security Symposium
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore
Period8/15/188/17/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Bamboozling certificate authorities with BGP'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Birge-Lee, H., Sun, Y., Edmundson, A., Rexford, J., & Mittal, P. (2018). Bamboozling certificate authorities with BGP. In Proceedings of the 27th USENIX Security Symposium (pp. 833-849). (Proceedings of the 27th USENIX Security Symposium). USENIX Association.