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> * SSL requires that you decide which certificate authorities you want to trust.

One subtle point is that governments can force seemingly great certificate authorities to give them a certificate so that they can do man-in-the-middle attacks and still have a reasonable "trust chain" that you can look at in your browser. More details of this "compelled certificate creation attack" at http://cryptome.org/ssl-mitm.pdf

If I had to bet, I'd say most serious attackers aren't bothering to break crypto math or even weak implementations but are rather focusing on this approach by getting a CA to give them a good cert to spoof another site and it'd go practically undetected.

Ultimately with crypto (or anything else) you have to implicitly trust somebody (e.g. Mozilla Foundation) or something (your processor to correctly execute a program or your quantum crypto box to not behave maliciously). As long as this is the case, you can't have perfect security.

Great paper of "Reflections on Trusting Trust" : http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html




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