Browsers and SSL Security - a Race to the Bottom !

Published: 2012-06-04
Last Updated: 2012-06-04 13:55:17 UTC
by Rob VandenBrink (Version: 1)
4 comment(s)

We've received a fair number of questions on today's emergency patch from Microsoft ( ), and many of them have been simply "Why don't they just put the affected Certs into the CRL (Certificate Revocation List)"?  That is, after all, what the CRL is for, and it's part of the SSL protocol for goodness sake!

Simply put, in most cases the browsers do not consult the CRL, or if they do, they time out the lookup and proceed on *very* quickly.  Jim wrote on this in Febuary when Chrome enabled this behaviour ( http:// ).  But this behaviour has been in force for some time (to various degrees) in most browsers an platforms.  A quick google led me to some excellent articles on this topic:

You'd think after the Diginotar compromise just last year ( , and many others), we'd have learned and changed this behaviour.

Unfortunately, it's truly become a race to the bottom for Browsers where SSL security is concerned.  And sadly, it's we, the browser users who insist on "the fastest browser" that have forced them to go there.

Rob VandenBrink

Keywords: Browsers CRL SSL
4 comment(s)
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