Mozilla warns CAs to confess intercept SSL certificates

Suspicions Trustwave issued two "skeleton" CAs, not one as claimed.

Mozilla has given all SSL certificate authorities (CA) until April 27 to destroy any subordinate CA certificates used to intercept traffic on a private network or face expulsion from its root certificate program.

The organisation's sunset follows an admission this month by security vendor Trustwave that it issued a single certificate to support a data loss prevention (DLP) system used in an audit of a customer's physical security, network security and security policies.

Despite Truswave's intentions, issuing a subordinate root certificate to a third-party would enable the recipient to issue unlimited SSL certificates for any domain, jeopardizing the integrity of the web's already shaky trust model.

Mozilla sent an email to all CAs last Friday demanding that by March 2 each authority comes clean about how they currently use subordinate certificates, including whether they are used to conduct intercept private network traffic.

CA's have until April 27 to destroy any certificates used for these purposes or face termination from Mozilla's root certificate program.

"We have requested that any such certificates be revoked, and their HSMs (Hardware Security Models) destroyed," said Firefox Engineering senior director Johnathan Nightingale.

"We have requested the serial numbers of those certificates and fingerprints of their signing roots so that we, and other relying parties, can detect and distrust these subCA certificates if encountered. We have requested that any CAs who have issued subCA certificates fulfill these requests no later than April 27, 2012."

"Participation in Mozilla’s root program is at our sole discretion, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to keep our users safe, up to and including the removal of root certificates that mis-issue, as well as any roots that cross-sign them."

Trustwave escaped being banished from Mozilla's program after clarifying that it only ever issued one such subordinate certificate and that it would stop the practice.

However, Mozilla's patch indicates it has distrusted two Trustwave skeleton certificates.

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about DLPetworkLPMozillaTrustwave

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place