Thursday , February 21 2019

Google Chrome 56’s crypto tweaks ‘borked many of computers’ with the help of Blue Coat security

TLS 1.3 takes down Chromebooks, PCs


Updated the obtainability of Transport Layer Security protocol version 1.3 was made-up to make network encryption faster and more secure.

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TLS 1.3 dispenses with a number of older cryptographic functions that no longer offer satisfactory protection, and decreases the amount of time required to negotiate “handshakes” between devices.

Google introduced support for TLS 1.3 in Chrome 56, which began rolling out for Linux, macOS, and Windows in late January, and reached Android and iOS devices some days later.

The specification is not yet finalized, but Google has been open about its strategy to implement it. Now it looks at least one security vendor flouted the memo. Chromium’s bug tracker indicates that Symantec’s Blue Coat 6.5 security software can’t handle TLS 1.3.

6 days ago, an IT administrator with Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland stated that following the update to Chrome version 56, nearly a third of the 50,000 Chromebooks he manages became “stuck in a state of wavering between a login screen and a ‘Network not available’ screen.” He also stated that some of the roughly 45,000 Windows PCs he manages were affected. The admin stated Blue Coat 6.5 doesn’t appear to support TLS 1.3.

Attempts to approach the administrator through phone and email were unsuccessful and Montgomery County Public Schools’ CTO Sherwin Collette did not reply to a request for comment.

According to Google engineer David Benjamin, the problem is that Blue Coat implements TLS 1.3 incorrectly. “[Blue Coat was] made aware of TLS 1.3 many months ago, but evidently did not test [its] software per our instructions,” he inscribed. Benjamin did not respond to further requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Symantec, which acquired Blue Coat previous year, said The Register in an email, “Symantec has been warned of a potential issue with TLS 1.3 on select devices. We’re investigating now and are working to resolve the issue.”

Symantec’s spokesperson did not respond to an appeal to explain why the issue has gone unaddressed for a long period. Another Google employee posting to the list mentioned that a user using iBoss’s security software also encountered problems following the Chrome update.

However, an iBoss employee said The Register that the company was aware of only 1 report and believes the problem in that instance is related to a customer configuration issue rather than the implementation of its software.

Updated to add

Google has said The Register it has paused its TLS 1.3 deployment and is functioning with many vendors to address issues that have emerged. TLS 1.3 support has been rolled out to about a tenth of Chrome customers, we’re said.

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