Finger pointed at Iranian government in recent SSL attack

Finger pointed at Iranian government in recent SSL attack

Late Sunday, Google noted a series of attacks on Gmail accounts and later found that most of those affected are in Iran. DigiNotar, a Dutch company that sells SSL certificates, reported it was hacked earlier this summer, and one of its stolen certificates was found on the machines of several Iranian users.

The focus of the attacks has led some to point the finger at the Iranian government, which is notorious for attempting to censor its population. While similar attacks are often the work of cyber criminals, the fact that most of those affected were in Iran is a major area of concern of Google.

This particular method of cyber crime is especially potent because it enables the attacker to conduct the exploit without alerting the user in any way. While Google has worked to address the issue, DigiNotar has suffered as well. Microsoft has since removed the company from its trusted SSL provider list for Internet Explorer.

SSL attacks are so dangerous because they allow cyber criminals to make their sites appear as legitimate web pages. The URL begins with "HTTPS," as it does on legitimate SSLs, and displays the green padlock before the URL, which is the symbol to demonstrate secure web browsing.