What is Certification Authority Authorization?

Posted by on September 25, 2013 0 comments

DNS Certification Authority Authorization (CAA), defined in IETF draft RFC 6844, is designed to allow a DNS domain name holder (a website owner) to specify the certificate signing certificate(s) authorized to issue certificates for that domain or website. Usually, the certificate signing certificate will belong to the Certification Authority (CA) that issues SSL certificates to you. It’s a way for you to indicate which CA or CAs you want to issue certificates for your domains. Using CAA could reduce the risk of unintended certificate mis-issuance, either by malicious actors or by honest...

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It’s Time for TLS 1.2

Posted by on September 19, 2013 1 comment

In a previous post titled Getting the Most Out of SSL Part 2, we touched on the recommendation that Web servers be configured to prefer Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.2. With the planned release of Firefox 24 and recent release of Chrome 29 adding support for TLS 1.2, now is a great time for website administrators to make the switch. Transport Layer Security was formerly called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and is the protocol that enables secure “https://” connections to websites. TLS 1.2 was defined 5 years ago in RFC 5246, and TLS 1.1 dates all the way back to RFC 4346...

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Encryption Still Works – It’s About How You Implement It

Posted by on September 13, 2013 0 comments

The September 5th joint article by the New York Times and Guardian newspapers on NSA’s and GCHQ’s efforts to circumvent encryption implementation have left many people speculating on the security of the data they are transmitting over the Internet. Hopefully, this blog post will provide some guidance and help understand SSL in light of these recent articles. Importantly, the articles point out that the primary means of attacking SSL/TLS do not exploit a vulnerability in the protocol itself but instead aim to exploit poor implementations of the protocol, insecure servers, and weak...

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What Is Certificate Transparency and How Does It Propose to Address Certificate Mis-Issuance?

Posted by on September 9, 2013 0 comments

As originally architected by Netscape and others in the mid-1990s, the certificate issuance process envisioned that the CA would present the certificate and its contents to the named subject who would review and accept the certificate first. Then the CA would publish the certificate to a repository. That process would establish that the certificate’s subject was aware of certificate issuance. (Otherwise, an unscrupulous CA could sign a subscriber’s public key and create a certificate for the subscriber without its knowledge.) The repository was also an independent means of...

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