Thursday, January 3, 2013
Enhancing digital certificate security
Late on December 24, Chrome detected and blocked an unauthorized digital certificate for the "*.google.com" domain. We investigated immediately and found the certificate was issued by an intermediate certificate authority (CA) linking back to TURKTRUST, a Turkish certificate authority. Intermediate CA certificates carry the full authority of the CA, so anyone who has one can use it to create a certificate for any website they wish to impersonate.
In response, we updated Chrome’s certificate revocation metadata on December 25 to block that intermediate CA, and then alerted TURKTRUST and other browser vendors. TURKTRUST told us that based on our information, they discovered that, in August 2011, they had mistakenly issued two intermediate CA certificates to organizations that should have instead received regular SSL certificates. On December 26, we pushed another Chrome metadata update to block the second mistaken CA certificate and informed the other browser vendors.
Our actions addressed the immediate problem for our users. Given the severity of the situation, we will update Chrome again in January to no longer indicate Extended Validation status for certificates issued by TURKTRUST, though connections to TURKTRUST-validated HTTPS servers may continue to be allowed.
Since our priority is the security and privacy of our users, we may also decide to take additional action after further discussion and careful consideration.