Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, Cloud Security

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Is HTTPS the Answer to Man in the Middle Attacks? | @DevOpsSummit #APM #Monitoring

HTTPS, otherwise known as HTTP over TLS/SSL or HTTP Secure, is a protocol that is used for communication that needs to be secure

Web Security Essentials: Is HTTPS the Answer to Man in the Middle Attacks?
By Nilabh Mishra

A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.”

The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content.

The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the middle and is not just able to eavesdrop on the conversation taking place between two or more systems, but is also capable of altering the content or redirecting the users to a different property on the Internet without the user even realizing that he/she is not communicating with the intended machine.

In a MITM attack, the attacker may use one of the many possible ways to split the TCP connection into two separate connections. One connection will be used between the client and the attacker, whereas the second connection will be used between the attacker and the web server, making the eavesdropper act like a proxy who is able to intercept data being sent between the client and the server.

Such attacks are common when it comes to HTTP because of the way HTTP as a protocol is designed. HTTP works as a request/response protocol where a web browser, for example, will be the client, and an application or a website hosted on the web will be the server. It’s easy for an Internet Service Provider or a network administrator to run a packet sniffer (Wireshark, Fiddler, HTTP Analyzer) on the Network and capture the traffic moving between the client and the server.

Why should the Internet start using HTTPS more?
HTTPS, otherwise known as HTTP over TLS/SSL or HTTP Secure, is a protocol that is used for communication that needs to be secure; it’s designed to transfer information in an encrypted form. The data is transferred over HTTP using the Secured Socket Layer (SSL). HTTPS connections where initially used to secure transactions that involved money and sensitive content.

Lately, HTTPS is being used on websites that are not necessarily financial sites or sites that handle sensitive content. This is a welcomed trend, as it extends data encryption beyond payment gateways and banking websites, making the Internet a little more secure.

Starting with the release of Chrome version 56, any website that is not running HTTPS will have the following message appear in the location bar that says “Not Secure” on pages that collect passwords or credit cards. Per Google’s “Transparency Report,”

Secure web browsing through HTTPS is becoming the norm. Desktop users load more than half of the pages they view over HTTPS and spend two-thirds of their time on HTTPS pages. HTTPS is less prevalent on mobile devices, but an upward trend can be seen there too.

HTTPS is vital in preventing MITM attacks as it makes it difficult for an attacker to obtain a valid certificate for a domain that is not controlled by him, thus preventing eavesdropping.

Analysis of a use case
Recently, a customer who was using our web testing functionality to monitor their performance complained that they were seeing a lot of performance issues from some of their locations in China.

We observed the following when investigating further:

  1. The number of items downloaded was highly inconsistent.
  2. The waterfall view showed us that the HTTP version of the website was getting redirected to random websites using a HTTP 302 (Temporary Redirect), suggesting that this was an MITM attack in China.
  3. The HTTPS version of the same website did not show this behavior and was not getting redirected.
  4. In this case, a permanent redirect (HTTP 301) existed from http:// to https://. However, since HTTP was not secure, the MITM Attack was happening between the URL redirect from HTTP to HTTP Secure.

Important Takeaways

  • The objective of end-user monitoring should not be limited to monitoring uptime, but should take into consideration real user scenarios and determine whether the user is able to access the intended website.
  • Security plays a very important role in today’s world where people are concerned about privacy and online identity.
  • It is highly recommended for businesses to move to HTTPS, and to ensure that they have their servers patched and TLS correctly implemented.
  • In scenarios like these, our recommendation would be to use HTTPS version of the websites for newsletters, search engine optimization rules, and advertising campaigns. This will ensure that the traffic is being directed to the HTTPS version of the website and not the HTTP version.

The post Web Security Essentials: Is HTTPS the Answer to Man in the Middle Attacks? appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog - Web Performance Monitoring.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mehdi Daoudi

Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...