For the last 6 weeks or so, a bunch of us have been working on a really serious issue in SSL. In short, a man-in-the-middle can use SSL renegotiation to inject an arbitrary prefix into any SSL session, undetected by either end.
To make matters even worse, through a piece of (in retrospect) incredibly bad design, HTTP servers will, under some circumstances, replay that arbitrary prefix in a new authentication context. For example, this is what happens if you configure Apache to require client certificates for one directory but not another. Once it emerges that your request is for a protected directory, a renegotiation will occur to obtain the appropriate client certificate, and then the original request (i.e. the stuff from the bad guy) gets replayed as if it had been authenticated by the client certificate. But it hasn’t.
Not that the picture is all rosy even when client certificates are not involved. Consider the attacker sending an HTTP request of his choosing, ending with the unterminated line “X-Swallow-This: “. That header will then swallow the real request sent by the real user, and will cause any headers from the real user (including, say, authentication cookies) to be appended to the evil request.
It’s obviously going to take a little while for the world to patch this – and since the news is spreading like wildfire I’ve put up a patch to OpenSSL that bans all renegotiation. I’m sure an official release will follow very shortly.
Note that the patch is against the head of the OpenSSL 0.9.8 development tree (that is, it is against 0.9.8l-dev). You may have to do a little work to patch against other versions. And if you intend to deploy this patch permanently, please change at least the textual version of the version number, which you can find in
crypto/opensslv.h. Also note that if you need renegotiation for your site to work, I have no solution for you, other than you redesign your site. Sorry.