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Kazakhstan Spies on Citizens' HTTPS Traffic; Browser-Makers Fight Back

By Ars Technica

December 22, 2020

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Google, Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft said they are partnering to stop Kazakhstan’s government from decrypting and reading HTTPS-encrypted traffic sent between citizens and overseas social media sites.

All four of their browsers recently received updates that block a self-signed root certificate the Kazakh government has been requiring some citizens to install, which causes traffic sent to and from select websites to be encrypted with a government-controlled key.

The Censored Planet website said the certificate operated against dozen of Web services that primarily belonged to Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Computers with the certificate installed used a key that the Kazakh government also could use to decrypt data in transit.

Censored Planet said the percentage of hosts within Kazakhstan experiencing the interception was about 11.5%, up from 7% in 2019.

From Ars Technica
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