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Google might shun Dutch gov certificates from DigiNotar

Chrome update prepared to kill 2 certs

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Bring us the head of DigiNotar

As the Google statement suggests, DigiNotar has so far released few details about counterfeit SSL certificates that were signed with its root key. DigiNotar's parent company, an Illinois-based supplier of two-factor authentication products called Vasco Data Security, waited more than 24 hours after the bogus Google certificate was first spotted in the wild to admit its subsidiary had suffered a security 41 days earlier that resulted in the issuance of fraudulent certificates for “a number” of websites, including Google's.

A spokesman for DigiNotar later told IDG News that the breach affected “several dozen” websites but didn't say which ones. Meanwhile, an update to Google Chrome blacklisted a total of 247 certificates that were described as “Bad DigiNotar leaf certificates for non-Google sites.”

Mozilla has since said its site hosting powerful addons for Firefox and Thunderbird was also affected, lending credence to a report that claimed bogus certificates for websites belonging to Yahoo, the Tor Project, WordPress and the Baladin blogging service in Iran were also generated.

Tor Project programmer Jacob Appelbaum recently said that he uncovered evidence that DigiNotar issued a total of 12 bogus certificates for the anonymity service's website, and contrary to claims from the Dutch certificate authority, he can find no evidence any of them have been revoked.

Given DigiNotar's failure to disclose the breach and assure the world it's cleaning up the mess it created, it's understandable that browser makers would have doubts about any certificate that's chained to the CA's root certificate. One can only hope that DigiNotar insecurity is an exception among CAs. If blocking just one is this hard, imagine what it would be like blocking even a small fraction of the thousands of others. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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