0

I would like to understand a point. When I use fiddler it creates a local proxy to analyze the traffic, so far everything is fine. However when Fiddler is launched and I browse an HTTPS site the certificate on the browser is "replaced" by the one generated by Fiddler, marked as DO NOT TRUST.

With and without Fiddler

I would like to understand the risks associated with this local proxy and this certificate replacement... Imagine that I am browsing the internet with Fiddler continuously running locally, what am I actually risking? Is this a bad practice? Or on the contrary, everything is fine?

Thanks for your help !

2
  • 1
    Why are you using Fiddler in the first place ? It is used for troubleshooting https connections. What you are risking ? Not being notified of invalid/expired certificates while browsing websites.
    – Anonymous
    Jul 12 at 18:27
  • In fact, it's more the architecture of this solution (local proxy + certificate) that interests me here. Not only Fiddler. I therefore understand that in addition to a MitM attack I risk not seeing the updates on the original certificate of the site.
    – Marc Alves
    Jul 13 at 7:58
1

The whole idea, however flawed, of using trusted certificates for securing web sites is that the certificate is signed by generally recognized trusted authorities. This provides a strong probability that the site is the official site and not some kind of spoof or clone.

A self signed certificate, that is one that is not signed by trusted authority, is just as secure encryption wise but there is no validation by a trusted authority that the site is not a copy/clone/spoof as anyone can make a self signed certificate.

Man in The Middle (MiTM) proxies such as Fiddler use self signed certificates. You could of course choose to trust Fiddler Certs, but you would be potentially trusting other people's Fiddler Certs with no recognized trust authority.

Yes, browsing through Fiddler works fine, until it doesn't. (MiTM)

7
  • It is therefore a MiTM attack that I risk by trusting a self-signed certificate like those of Fiddler. In this case, is it a solution to configure Fiddler to use a certificate that I own, this one being purchased and generated by a trusted authority? As this link shows for example: docs.telerik.com/fiddlercore/basic-usage/… In this scenario, the Fiddler proxy would analyze and decrypt the HTTPS traffic from my local machine, but using a trusted custom certificate. I suppose there is therefore no more risk in this case? Or do you see something else?
    – Marc Alves
    Jul 13 at 7:55
  • @Marc Alves - I don't know if Fiddler supports using an external certificate, I know ZAP doesn't, or didn't last I looked. Even if you can, you risk a reverse issue. Corporate MiTM devices like Bluecoat do this with a corporate trusted cert. I've seen where going through Bluecoat to a web site with a self-signed certificate is not flagged by the browser as a potential security risk because all it saw was the trusted Bluecoat certificate. In many ways this is even worse because any old self-signed cert becomes blindly accepted. Jul 13 at 15:31
  • OK I think I understand what you are explaining here. This risk therefore corresponds to the one identified by @Anonymous in the above responses: "Not being notified of invalid / expired certificates while browsing websites" Is it correct?
    – Marc Alves
    Jul 14 at 6:26
  • In this case, I will clarify the question, let's assume that "Fiddler" (or something similar) would be used with a valid external certificate that I own but that this proxy would analyze traffic only from a single "trusted" site, via a filter. Ex: www.security.stackexchange.com (this is an example). In this case, my external certificate will replace the StackExchange one (as shown on my screenshots), but all other sites will continue to display their original certificate. In this scenario, is there still a high risk or is it acceptable ? (Even if it's not doable by Fiddler itself...)
    – Marc Alves
    Jul 14 at 6:32
  • 1
    @Marc Alves - No I don't see significant risk as I interpret that as normal use with the difference of using a custom certificate instead of a generated self-signed one. Again, I'm not aware that custom certificate insertion is supported by Fiddler. Jul 14 at 21:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.