from the clear-warning-to-other-CAs dept.
StartCom customers received word that the company would close down as a certification authority due to the protective action browser manufacturers took against it, over a year ago. The news of the company closing down had been published November 16th on their website, but went unnoticed until now.
StartCom has played a critical role as a Certification Authority in data security and electronic commerce by providing an independent "trusted third party" guarantee all these years.
Around a year ago the majority of the browser makers decided to distrust StartCom, remove the StartCom root certificates from their root stores and not accept newly end entity certificates issued by StartCom.
Despite the efforts made during this time by StartCom, up to now, there has not been any clear indication from the browsers that StartCom would be able to regain the trust. Therefore, the owners of StartCom have decided to terminate StartCom as a Certification Authority (CA).
From January 1st, 2018, StartCom will not issue any new end entity certificate and will only provide validation services through its OCSP and CRL services for two years from January 1st, 2018. Starting 2020, all remaining valid certificates will be revoked.
StartCom wants to thank all of our customers and partners during these years for their support.
Disclaimer: Early on, SoylentNews used StartCom certs.
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Last August, after being alerted by GitHub's security team that the certificate authority WoSign had errantly issued a certificate for a GitHub domain to someone other than GitHub, Google began an investigation in collaboration with the Mozilla Foundation and a group of security professionals into the company's certificate issuance practices. The investigation uncovered a pattern of bad practices at WoSign and its subsidiary StartCom dating back to the spring of 2015. As a result, Google moved last October to begin distrusting new certificates issued by the two companies, stating "Google has determined that two CAs, WoSign and StartCom, have not maintained the high standards expected of CAs and will no longer be trusted by Google Chrome."
WoSign (based in Shenzen, China) and StartCom (based in Eliat, Israel) are among the few low-cost certificate providers who've offered wildcard certificates. StartCom's StartSSL offers free Class 1 certificates, and $60-per-year wildcard certificates—allowing the use of a single certificate on multiple subdomains with a single confirmation. This made the service wildly popular. But bugs in WoSign's software allowed a number of misregistrations of certificates. One bug allowed someone with control of a subdomain to claim control of the whole root domain for certificates. The investigation also found that WoSign was backdating the SSL certificates it issued to get around the deadline set for certificate authorities to stop issuing SHA-1 SSL certificates by January 1, 2016. WoSign continued to issue the less secure SHA-1 SSL certificates well into 2016.