TLS Certificates on the Web – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted by on May 17, 2016

It might be hard to believe, but the SSL/TLS Ecosystem is nearly 20 years old. It’s time to take stock and see how we’re doing with regards to TLS certificates. In this article, we’ll primarily discuss certificates themselves and not web server configuration, although that is often a source of problems. In the last few years, we’ve endured three major certificate-based migrations: Away from the MD2 and MD5 hash algorithms to SHA-1 Away from small RSA keys to 2048-bit keys or larger Away from the SHA-1 hash algorithm to...

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What Kind of SSL/TLS Certificate do You Need?

Posted by on May 12, 2016

In previous blog posts we have discussed the differences among the various types of SSL/TLS certificates available. In this blog post we introduce you to a new infographic that has a decision tree to help you select the right kind of certificate for your needs.  In most cases you will need a publicly trusted certificate, but the decision tree notes that one type of certificate is the private trust certificate, which can be obtained and used in situations where a publicly trusted certificate cannot be used. These types of private SSL/TLS...

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SSL 2.0 and DROWN

Posted by on April 4, 2016

A team of researchers has announced a vulnerability with SSL 2.0 called Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption; otherwise known as DROWN. SSL 2.0 is a version of the SSL/TLS security protocols. It was released in February 1995, but due to security flaws was superseded by SSL 3.0 in 1996. DROWN is a cross-protocol attack where the bugs in SSL 2.0 can be used to attack the security of connections that use TLS. The vulnerability applies to servers: Configured to use SSL 2.0 Some versions of OpenSSL with SSL 2.0 disabled even with...

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Stay Safe This Tax Season by Looking for SSL/TLS Certificates

Posted by on March 30, 2016

It’s tax filing season again, and you need to be aware of scams that tried to steal your sensitive information or even your tax refund.  During 2015 the IRS blocked over 4.3 million suspicious returns and more than 1.4 million confirmed identity theft returns. https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS,-States-and-Tax-Industry-Combat-Identity-Theft-and-Refund-Fraud-on-Many-Fronts. Phishing emails, account compromise, identity theft, and fake websites are a few approaches used by cyber criminals this time of year.  Good computer security...

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Moving to Always on HTTPS, Part 2 of 2; Upgrading to HTTP Strict Transport Security

Posted by on February 18, 2016

Part 1 of this blog post discussed browser security indicators and how to avoid getting warnings about mixed content on your website.  (Mixed content leaves a door open that allows an attacker to snoop or inject malicious content during the browsing session.)  This Part 2 discusses other technical measures to implement Always on HTTPS.  As I noted previously, one of the difficulties with implementing Always on HTTPS is that content is often provided by third parties.  I suggested that you require HTTPS from them as well. However, until you...

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Moving to Always on HTTPS, Part 1 of 2; Marking HTTP as Unsecure

Posted by on February 3, 2016

Over the past several years there has been increased discussion about deprecating HTTP and making HTTPS the default protocol for the World Wide Web.  (HTTP stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol” and the “S” in HTTPS is enabled with an SSL/TLS digital certificate properly installed and configured on a web server.)  These discussions have taken place in the context of browser security indications and technical improvements simplifying the global movement to “Always on HTTPS.”   Part 1 of this two-part blog post will...

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What Will Happen With SHA-1 and Browser Users on January 1st, 2016?

Posted by on January 5, 2016

On January 1, 2016, the public trust certification authorities (CAs) will stop issuing SHA-1 signed SSL/TLS certificates. What will happen? Will all websites using SHA-1 fail? No. SHA-1 will be supported by browsers and operating systems through 2016. Microsoft and Mozilla have announced that Windows and Firefox will not support SHA-1 in 2017, but no change for 2016. We expect Apple to follow the same protocol. What about Chrome? Chrome will still provide warning indications in the browser status bar for SHA-1 signed certificates which expire...

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2016 – Looking Back, Moving Forward

Posted by on December 14, 2015

Looking Back at 2015 A number of new tactics proved 2015 was no exception to an active year defending against ever increasing security issues. Vendors found new and creative ways to provide vulnerabilities including the now popular man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks.  MitM as well as a host of other new vulnerabilities caused browsers to rethink their security requirements.  This article gives a flashback of the exploits and industry changes from 2015 and looks ahead at the latest security requirements and how it impacts IT security...

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Code Signing Baseline Requirements

Posted by on November 30, 2015

You may have heard that the CA/Browser Forum is getting ready to approve Baseline Requirements for Code Signing certificates. But why is this important? Let’s back up and get some background on code signing.  Software code that is digitally signed indicates to the user that the code has not been tampered with since it was signed. It also provides authenticity as to who signed it and when.  With the advent of malware, it’s important to insure that the code which was written by the developer is the same code which you downloaded and...

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CA/B Forum Istanbul 2015

Posted by on November 10, 2015

While some face to face meetings can be rather mundane and boring, that can’t be said about October’s CA/B Forum meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.  Guest speaker Andrea Servida from the European Commission gave an overview of the new eIDAS regulation on electronic identification and trust services. While not everyone in the room agreed with his points, all were made aware that this has now become the law in the EU and certificate authorities which plan to issue the new EU Qualified website certificates must comply with it. Unfortunately, the...

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