Symantec's Certificate Intelligence Centre will allow organizations to centrally manage all the SSL certificates deployed, regardless of the issuing certificate authority.
Symantec rolled out a new cloud-based
digital certificate management service to help organizations worried about the
security of their Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates.
With the Symantec Certificate
Intelligence Centre, companies can manage all the certificates for their
servers in one central repository, even if the certificates were issued by
different certificate authorities. The service, which the company formally
announced Sept. 12, features automated scanning to discover all certificates
being used on the network and advanced notification when they are set to expire.
The service also applies compliance requirements and provides in-depth
reporting, allowing organizations to keep an eye on SSL security, Symantec
Organizations have to manage SSL
certificates for all their servers, both internal and customer-facing, to
protect user transactions from malicious attackers. The skyrocketing number of
mobile applications and cloud-based services has also made the task more
challenging. Gathering information on all certificates across "complex
enterprise networks" is an expensive, time-consuming and
resource-intensive job, according to Symantec. With the new CIC service,
Symantec will help enterprises meet internal and regulatory requirements.
"Symantec Certificate Intelligence
Center will make certificate management easier than ever," said Fran
Rosch, vice president of Trusted Services at Symantec.
Aimed at the large enterprise, Symantec
Certificate Intelligence Centre will alert an organization when a certificate is
about to expire so that administrators can renew it and prevent Web browsers
from throwing a warning about errors with the certificate. While users can just
ignore the warning and get to the Website, with everyone jittery about the
prospect of fake certificates floating in the wild, organizations want to avoid
In light of the DigiNotar breach, where
an attacker compromised the certificate authority and issued over 500
fraudulent SSL certificates for high-profile Websites, organizations need to be
aware of which certificates they have deployed across virtual machines, cloud
services and mobile devices. A central service such as CIC could be used by an
organization to verify whether it has any DigiNotar certificates, so that it can
obtain replacement certificates from a different CA.
Mozilla is demanding that all the
certificate authorities it works with to perform a security audit after
"Comodohacker" claimed to have compromised four other authorities
other than DigiNotar. Japanese-owned GlobalSign discovered one of its Web
servers had been compromised, but none of the systems handles SSL certificates.
Symantec "will work with Mozilla" on its request for securing the CA
business, Rosch told eWEEK.
"We have performed exhaustive audits
of our network, and we are confident that our systems have not been affected by
recent breaches," Rosch wrote in an email. None of Symantec's SSL certificate
authorities, including VeriSign, Thawte, GeoTrust and RapidSSL, had been
breached, Rosch said.
The statement last week by a Dutch
government agency about Thawte being compromised was made
"erroneously," Rosch wrote on the Symantec blog.
Mozilla hasn't said what it will do if
a CA refuses to comply with the audit demand, but removing a CA's root key from
the browser would have a significant impact on the Internet. There are more
than 650 certificate authorities providing SSL certificates, but one company
may handle certificates for a large number of organizations.
For example, Comodo, the certificate
authority whose resellers were breached earlier this year, signs certificates
for "a quarter of the Internet," estimated Moxie Marlinspike
, a security researcher who
discussed the problems with the current CA system at this year's Black Hat
security conference. Removing DigiNotar because of the breach has significantly
affected Dutch government agencies and businesses.