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Re: SSLRef (SSLtelnet)

From: Adam Shostack <[email protected]>
> 	To get a certificate, you need to talk to Verisign, and give
> them a business plan, a key, and 270 bucks per year to get your key
> certified.
> 	Verisign is a spin off of RSA.

Yes, this is my understanding.  I have also heard that the process is
not easy or routine, that the business plan receives considerable
scrutiny.  What I would be doing with the certificate is
unconventional.  I would publicize the secret key, and ship out free
software which would use the certificate to establish SSL
communications with the Netscape browser within the same PC that runs
the browser.  The real purpose of the certificate is not to
authenticate the key of a server running remotely, but simply to bypass
the security checks within Netscape Navigator.  So I am not confident
that this business plan will pass Verisign's muster.  Among other things,
it would be difficult to enforce the one year restriction (unless
Navigator checks a date in the certificate).

I understand that Netscape's browser will also accept certificates
created by a Netscape-internal "test" CA.  I hoped that perhaps some junk
certificates from that CA might be floating around, ones which would be
useless for conventional purposes because their secret keys are exposed,
but which would be perfect for my needs.

There is one "fallback" strategy possible which would allow the 128-bit
SSL security proxy to work.  That is to filter *all* connections, not
just secure ones, and convert https: URL's to http:.  Then Navigator will
not attempt to make any SSL connections at all, and the proxy can talk to
it non-securely, using 128-bit SSL for the external connection to the
server.  However this would be much harder, and the proxy would have to
somehow remember which URL's had been massaged like this so it would know
which ones are eligible to have secure connections made.