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In theory, PKI can provide a flexible and strong way to authenticate
users in distributed information systems. In practice, much is being
invested in realizing this vision via client-side SSL and various
client keystores. However, whether this works depends on whether what
the machines do with the private keys matches what the humans think
they do: whether a server operator can conclude from an SSL request
authenticated with a user's private key that the user was aware of and
approved that request. Exploring this vision, we demonstrate via a
series of experiments that this assumption does not hold with standard
desktop tools, even if the browser user does all the right things. A
fundamental rethinking of the trust, usage, and storage model might
result in more effective tools for achieving the PKI vision.
This TR supercedes TR2003-443. A preliminary version appeared in the
proceedings of the 2nd Annual PKI Research Workshop in April of 2003.
Bibliographic citation for this report: [plain text] [BIB] [BibTeX] [Refer]
Or copy and paste:
John Marchesini, Sean W. Smith, and Meiyuan Zhao, "Keyjacking: The Surprising Insecurity of Client-side SSL." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2004-489, February 13,.
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