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Firefox extension installation process vulnerable to MITM attack

February 09, 2010

Adrian Dimcev made an important discovery the other day: the Firefox installation process is vulnerable to MITM attack. If a man in the middle is able to intercept the traffic of someone installing an extension, he will be able to get the user to install something else. Firefox is supposed to check the integrity of the extensions before it installs them, but it seems something somewhere broke, and the check is no longer in place.

This problem will be fixed in the next release (it has been fixed in the repository, it seems), but the fact remains that the installation process is seriously misleading. Looking at the user interface alone, the impression is that the entire installation process is carried out ever SSL. Even worse, the main domain name where the extensions are "stored" uses an EV certificate, so you are made to feel super-safe. In truth, the extensions are downloaded over HTTP from who-knows-where.