The exploitation of flaws in the HTTPS protocol
The HTTPS protocol is a vital tool in safeguarding the security of our personal and business lives. This protocol ensures that important data such as financial information, intellectual property and login credentials are encrypted and integrity protected as they travel across the internet. Ultimately this means a malicious observer is unable to obtain, view, use or sell this important data. To both technical and non-technical users, the presence of “HTTPS” at the start of the website URL will provide enough confidence to consider entering sensitive information such as bank or credit card details. However, in this article we will explain how even websites owned by the most reputable organisations may be exposed to a 20-year-old attack – originally known as the “Million Message Attack” due to Daniel Bleichenbacher – if HTTPS is not properly implemented. Around 33% of internet servers were found to be vulnerable to this attack in 2016, and both Facebook and PayPal remained vulnerable in 2017. Furthermore, related weaknesses in HTTPS implementations are still regularly being discovered. As a result, a secure TLS implementation is imperative for all organisations looking to maintain their business reputations and sensitive intellectual property.