Hacked Dutch certificate authority DigiNotar on Monday filed for bankruptcy, its US authentication company parent Vasco announced.
A court appointed trustee took charge of DigiNotar’s operations on Tuesday, with plans to liquidate the business responsible for issuing over 500 fraudulent Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, triggering a rash of security updates from browser and operating system makers to remove the CA's root certificate.
The fraudulent certificates were used to falsely verify the authenticity of dozens of popular websites, including Yahoo, Google Gmail, the Tor Project, Mozilla, Wordpress and Dutch Government websites.
The prime targets were believed to be Iranian citizens, according to an incident report by Dutch security company, FOX-IT, which found over 300,000 unique IPs, mostly from Iran, had used the fraudulent Google certificate to access the site.
Vasco initially believed the financial impact of the incident would be “minimal”, however on its chief financial officer Cliff Brown on Tuesday said while the full costs were not yet known, it now expected them to be “significant”. Vasco would outline the cost in upcoming financial statements, said Brown.
DigiNotar’s SSL and Extended Validation SSL certificate business earned the company under 100,000 euros in the first six months of 2011, it said at the initial disclosure in August.
The company was widely criticised for keeping the breach under wraps for six weeks and later for being vague about the extent of the incident.
A 21-year old Iranian, who dubbed himself the Comodo Hacker after claiming responsibility for a similar attack on the CA, Comodo, this week told the New York Times he was an “independent hacker” who merely shared his findings with “some people in Iran” but was not responsible for what they did with that information.
In a post to the document sharing site Pastebin, the Comodo Hacker also claimed to have breached the world’s fifth largest CA, GlobalSign, causing the company to temporarily suspend issuing certificates until it completed an investigation.
Vasco chief executive officer T. Kendall Hunt promised the company would continue to cooperate with the Dutch government’s investigation of the people behind the attack on DigiNotar.
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