Wireshark against https

Hi hello,

I happened to watch yesterday a documentary about security on my national TV (Spanish TV) , and a security expert claimed that he could find a facebook or hotmail password with wireshark.

As far as I know, Wireshark isn’t able to do so because there is HTTPS , this is, SSL in the process.

I was told long ago that the logon process had a part when you could see the password in plain text, but that hotmail , the banks and facebook, etc hardened their systems in order not to allow that.

So, was this security expert right about seeing passowrds in plain text in hotmail ? . I have just performed a scan with my Wireshark and my hotmail in my personal computer, and I don’t see any password. I am not an expert but I have read and practise with Wireshark for a while, in the last years.

Thanks in advance and congratulations to Comodo , I like your products !

TLS/SSL can be captured and decoded with the right tools and knowledge under the right variables.

Learning how Wireshark works is learning much about how the internet works. It’s a great learning tool.

Capturing a Hotmail/Facebook password is far from the security of a bank.

Edit: I was referring to 128 Bit

Thanks for your reply,

I think Wireshark helps understanding how LAN’s work, not internet ?. Well, I am not an expert at all, just a beginner, it is just that I use it to learn how my LAN is working, although you can see Public IP’s of DNS servers and web servers outside your LAN.

I love Wireshark, I am a hacker, not a cracker, in case people are not replying my post because they think I want to ■■■■■ into something. :slight_smile:

In short: With Wireshark is not possible to decode HTTPS ?. As I said, in Spanish TV a hacker claimed to do so, and I was so amazed that I wanted to know further, because from my little Computing knowledge, that was not the case.

Thanks again !

Your welcome loureed4 . You just have not unlocked the power at your fingers. Any average users traffic can be sniffed. No matter where in the world they are. (non-encrypted).

If you capture SSL traffic and you have the private key of the Cert you can decode it, so either this hacker has the means to perform a Man-In-The-Middle with a fake cert, or he has the power to decrypt the session by means of BEAST or CRIME attacks.

Weak implementations of websites could also allow the extraction of the session cookie because they forgot to set the ‘secure’ flag to it, but I doubt this issue is still valid for hotmail/facebook.
What you then get is not the password but the already authorized session key so you can mimic the user.

absolutely correct . . . :slight_smile:

with edit:with exceptions .


Yes, in a security course for beginners that I did last year, We were taught about Abel & Cain and those false certificates, but gmail, hotmail and facebook rejected them, no surprise anyway, I expected them to be rejected.

My question was just if Wireshark could break passwords in sites with HTTPS, as this so-called security expert claimed, and I think it is not possible.

Again: Thanks a lot !

Fortunately there is Forward secrecy to prevent that. :slight_smile:

Using TLS 1.2 with AES_GCM and a forward secret key-exchange such as ECDHE_RSA or ECDHE_ECDSA should keep the transferred data safe, I believe. :slight_smile:

Of the two mentioned sites, https://www.facebook.com/ is quite secure (TLS 1.2, AES_GCM) and forward secret with modern browsers, see report. https://login.live.com (login for Sign in to Outlook) is much weaker (TLS 1.0, AES_CBC = BEAST not mitigated) and not forward secret, see report.

Thanks Jowa.

Sorry for insisting so much but…, then neither facebook, nor hotmail, nor gmail can be cracked (its passwords) with Wireshark as this Spanish security expert claimed on a nation-wide TV channel ?

There are two sides of a connection, server and client. For strong security, both sides need to be strong.

While Facebook supports excellent security with TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256, not all clients (browsers) support that. For example IE8 on Windows XP will use TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA, and RC4 is totally broken. Likewise, if you visit https://login.live.com/ with a browser that lacks the 1/n-1-split, BEAST is possible. If you visit https://forums.comodo.com with a browser that supports TLS-compression, CRIME is possible. And so on and so forth.

Really, really interesting JoWa, thanks a million !!

Beginner as I am , I don’t understand still (sorry :-\ ) if wireshark can decode https traffic.

You’re welcome. :slight_smile:

From the wiki:

The SSL dissector is fully functional and even supports advanced features such as decryption of SSL if the encryption key can be provided and Wireshark is compiled against GnuTLS (rather than OpenSSL or bsafe). This works for RSA private keys.

Also interesting: Using Wireshark to Decode SSL/TLS Packets

So, not only will you need to have the private key to decipher/decode the encrypted data, but also must the key-exchange not be forward secret. Thus, ECDHE_RSA, ECDHE_ECDSA, DHE_RSA will make it impossible for Wireshark to decipher the data even though you might have the private key.

Wireshark can capture the packets not decode that calls for different but possible measures. TLS/SSL had to be designed into an application to protect the application protocols. The only secure protocol is IPsec. IPsec includes protocols for establishing mutual authentication between agents at the beginning of the session and negotiation of cryptographic keys to be used during the session.

If I can capture the traffic I can decode it. A security association is simply the bundle of algorithms and parameters that is being used to encrypt and authenticate a particular flow in one direction.128 Bit SSL is not as secure as you think.

Kind Regards

I found an article by Adam Langley: Decrypting SSL packet dumps (25 Jun 2012)

Is there any report about TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256 (128 bit encryption) being decoded?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

To the best of my knowledge no known attack currently can target these ciphers.

If you could exploit the key exchange between the client and the server at the exact moment of the handshake then i would say it could be possible. I’m in no way claiming I can do this.

When i said :

TLS/SSL can be captured and decoded with the right tools and knowledge under the right variables.

I should have said certain TLS/SSL protocols can be captured and decoded with the right tools and knowledge under the right variables.


Thank you for the clarification. :slight_smile: I interpreted “128 Bit SSL is not as secure as you think” as 128 bit encryption being insecure (breakable) regardless of cipher suite, protocol etc. That is why I, in my question, chose AES_GCM, which has no known weaknesses and is only used with TLS 1.2, and a forward secret key-exchange, to eliminate as many weaknesses as possible.

I think AES is pretty secure. You want TLS 1.2 though. TLS 1.0 is not the best. Many banks use it though. Pretty dumb. Even large ones like Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Some sites like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Lastpass, Startpage, and Paypal use TLS 1.2. Overall I think many sites are not up to date on their TLS standards.