Security Experts:

Firefox 63 to Distrust All Symantec Root Certificates

Mozilla this week detailed its plans to completely distrust Symantec root certificates in Firefox 63, set to arrive in October 2018.

Over the past couple of years, numerous problems have emerged regarding the wrongful issuance of certificates issued by the Certification Authority (CA) run by Symantec, one of the oldest and largest CAs.

These issues prompted Internet companies such as Google and Mozilla to gradually remove trust in all Symantec TLS/SSL certificates and also resulted in Symantec selling its CA business to DigiCert.

Mozilla expressed concerns that the deal wouldn’t bring the expected changes, as the same Symantec team would be in charge of certificate issuance for DigiCert. The CA, however, said it would validate all certificates requested through Symantec and issue them through its own infrastructure.

The Symantec certificates snafu resulted in browser vendors gradually removing trust in TLS/SSL certificates issued by the company, even after the announced DigiCert acquisition. Trust in older certificates will be removed first.

For Mozilla, this will happen in May 2018, when Firefox 60 will display an untrusted connection warning for websites using certificate issued before 2016-06-01 that chain up to a Symantec root certificate.

Starting in January 2018, Firefox 58 has been displaying notices in the Browser Console to warn about the Symantec certificates issued before 2016-06-01, to encourage site owners to replace their TLS certificates. In October 2018, Firefox 63 will distrust all Symantec root certificates for website server TLS authentication.

“Firefox 60 is expected to enter Beta on March 13th carrying with it the removal of trust for Symantec certificates issued prior to June 1st, 2016, with the exception of certificates issued by a few subordinate CAs that are controlled by Apple and Google,” Mozilla now says.

All Symantec brands will be affected by this move, including GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Thawte, and VeriSign. Mozilla has already made the change in Firefox Nightly.

The browser vendor also points out that numerous websites (roughly 1% of the top one million) continue to use TLS certificates no longer trusted in Firefox 60, although their number has been declining steadily. Thus, website operators are encouraged to replace the untrusted certificates as soon as possible, to avoid any disruptions.

“In Firefox 63, trust will be removed for all Symantec TLS certificates regardless of the date issued (with the exception of certificates issued by Apple and Google subordinate CAs as described above),” Mozilla concluded.

Related: 23,000 Digital Certificates Revoked in DigiCert-Trustico Spat

Related: Google Wants Symantec Certificates Replaced Until Chrome 70

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