Last week, Kazakhstan implemented a new policy that forces its ISPs to inspect HTTPS traffic, claiming the change was to make their users safer. But this means that all users who want to view HTTPS websites in Kazakhstan must install a certificate signed by the government. In the end, with this certificate, the Kazakhstan government can spy on Kazakh users’ Internet traffic. Additionally, this adds an another point of failure for browser security in Kazakhstan.
When web traffic is signed by a MitM (man-in-the-middle) certificate, like the one from Kazakhstan, the user doesn’t ever see the web servers’ original certificate. Only the MitM certificate provider can inspect the final server certificate, taking the security out of the hands of the user and placing it into the governments. A government, I might add, that feels MitM attacks are a good way to protect their citizens.
Kazakhstan actually tried this before in 2015 but it failed due to lawsuits. Hopefully the Kazakhstan government will understand that inspecting its population’s traffic doesn’t make them safer, and they will stop forcing its people to download their certificate. If you do find yourself being forced to download a certificate, try to find a different connection or at least ensure that you do not send any private information over the network. For more information please follow this link.