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.
I'd already moved most of my certs to Let's Encrypt, but one site which is currently inactive (and has been for three years) was still configured with a Startcom cert.
Given the nature of the site, it was never a big deal, as no financial or other PII was ever stored or transmitted. Encryption was the only real benefit. Since the cert was pretty old, I'd have needed to create a new one in a couple of years with SHA-512 anyway. So no great loss.
However, it's sad that those who were supposed to be helping to improve security were actively involved in degrading it.