F-In-Secure muddles up its digital certificate

One certificate, lots of sites - nul points for ecommerce

F-Secure has become the latest security firm to get its online credentials in a twist.

Register reader Richard George spotted that prospective customers who want to download software from www.f-secure.com were warned that the name of the site doesn't match the name on its digital certificate. A closer look reveals that the digital certificate on the site, which was supplied by Verisign, is for europe.f-secure.com.

Spoofing the digital certificate of a site is a popular trick among crackers and prospective customers are hardly likely to be filled with confidence when they encounter the wrong certificate on the site. It's a bit like someone trying to get through immigration on their brother's passport - and equally unlikely to inspire trust.

Mikko Hyppönen, manager of anti-virus research at F-Secure, admitted that people might be put off by the name mismatch on the digital certificate.

He said its web developers were aware of the issue and were working to fix it so that everyone was directed to the same site.

Why F-Secure couldn't buy a certificate for each of its sites was left unclear but I suppose they've got one up on Symantec in that at least the certificate F-Secure is using is up to date - it's just that it belongs to the wrong site. Splendid!

F-Secure, which is based in Finland, is best known for its antivirus products but also produces a file cryptographic product, so it really doesn't have much excuse for not understanding why trust is so important to encryption. Not good.

By way of punishment we'd suggest F-Secure follows in its country's traditions and send its Web developers out into a forest naked with a bunch of birch twigs in order to give themselves a good thrashing. It might concentrate their minds on what needs to be done. ®

Note

The problem with the mismatch of the name on the digital certificate and F-Secure's site was only apparent to us when we used Internet Explorer. Netscape Navigator, for reasons we don't immediately understand, didn't flag up the problem.

External Links

Microsoft Internet Explorer server certificate validation vulnerability (the perils of crackers impersonating trusted sites)

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Symantec forgets to renew its digital certificate
Microsoft vexed by falsified certs

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