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A study of what really breaks SSL

May 25, 2011

Earlier this year, we at SSL Labs conducted a second, much deeper survey of SSL usage. (I can now say "we" and really mean it, because most of the work on the survey was done by my Qualys coleague, Michael Small.) I presented the results last week at Hack In the Box Amsterdam:

We love security metrics because they tell us what really goes on out there. Last year we conducted an analysis of millions of SSL servers, showing, for the first time, how SSL is really used. This year we are pushing our study further by deepening and expending our efforts in several key areas. We will be looking at the problems that really break SSL — insecure session cookies, mixed content, incorrect site configuration, and distribution of trust to third-party sites. The best crypto in the world is not going to help a site that has flaws in these critical areas.

To discover these flaws we are building a custom site crawler, which we are then going to run against the world’s 1 million most used web sites. In addition to all that, we are expanding the scope of the study to include protocols other than HTTP, as well as basing our assessment on an updated version of the rating guide. The end result? We are finally going to find out how useful SSL really is.

Get the slides here: