SSL Certificates In Use Today Aren’t All Valid

It should be no surprise that the SSL security certificate business is big business, considering how SSL certificates are seen as being on the frontlines of securing Web transactions against fraud. But new data suggests that SSL certificates are not all being configured correctly.

Security research firm Qualys is attempting to paint a detailed picture of SSL deployments and their shortcomings with a new, still under-development study that aims to deliver a deeper degree of information on the state of the SSL marketplace than what is currently known. Most industry intelligence on the subject thus far has come from Netcraft research reports and from vendor reports.

In its study, Qualys scanned 119 million domain names, but found that only 92 million were active. Approximately 12.4 million domains failed to resolve properly and 14.6 million failed to respond. Of the active domains that did respond, nearly 34 million responded to the Qualys scan on both port 80 and port 443. Port 80 is typically used for HTTP while port 443 is typically used for HTTPS-, SSL-secured Websites. […]

Detecting invalid SSL certificates

In a preview of a talk set to be delivered at this summer’s Black Hat USA conference, Ristic explained that his company has had an SSL security-checking service available publicly for some time. However, the Qualys SSL checker required that users came to the site to check their own SSL status. With the new research conducted by Ristic, Qualys set about scanning the Internet to collect information on how sites are implementing SSL.

"For us, the question is: How exactly is SSL used on the Internet as a whole?" Ristic said during the Webcast. "Interestingly enough, as popular as SSL is, no one had made public the information about how it is used."

Leave a Reply