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Date: Fri, 01 May 2015 14:10:29 -0600
From: Kurt Seifried <>
Subject: Re: On sanctioned MITMs

On 05/01/2015 01:15 PM, mancha wrote:
> Though Hushmail email credentials, for example, can't be sniffed in the
> segment connecting the client to CloudFlare, they are available to
> CloudFlare's infrastucture. Moreoever, there is no way for the client to
> verify that the segment connecting CloudFlare to the destination server
> is similarly encrypted (i.e. it might be in the clear as would be the
> case when using CloudFlare's "Flexible SSL" product).  
> Hushmail's CloudFlare usage serves as an example that brings me to my
> general point.
> How should the security community view this growing use of sanctioned
> MITM in light of the ever-increasing amount of sensitive content sent
> over SSL/TLS encrypted channels (e.g. email, electronic banking, medical
> records, etc.)?

This is me speaking personally:

This is nothing new. Front end load balancers that handle SSL/TLS and
then do HTTP on the backend have been around for decades. This is simply
outsourcing it to a trusted (hopefully, because I use them!) party
rather than doing it in house.

We have had outsourcing of far more sensitive things for literally
centuries, e.g. legal and accounting firms, my lawyer and accountant
both have literally all my personal info and could easily destroy me
financially if they wanted to. But they don't because we have contracts,
and more importantly contract enforcement in the form of a civil legal
system (as does most of the world). The same applies for CloudFlare,
Google (my email), and so on.

So in my opinion this is really nothing new, like any outsourced
activity pick your partners carefully.

This is me speaking on behalf of the Cloud Security Alliance:

Make your partners/vendors/etc. fill out at least the self attestation
level of STARS, which is free:

If they refuse to do so that might be a good hint as to how secure they
really are.

> --mancha

Kurt Seifried -- Red Hat -- Product Security -- Cloud
PGP A90B F995 7350 148F 66BF 7554 160D 4553 5E26 7993

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