Security Experts:

Mozilla Reinforces Commitment to Distrust Symantec Certificates

Mozilla this week reaffirmed its commitment to distrust all Symantec certificates starting in late October 2018, when Firefox 63 is set to be released to the stable channel.

The browser maker had decided to remove trust in TLS/SSL certificates issued by the Certification Authority (CA) run by Symantec after a series of problems emerged regarding the wrongful issuance of such certificates.

Despite being one of the oldest and largest CAs, Symantec sold its certificate business to DigiCert after Internet companies, including Google and Mozilla, revealed plans to gradually remove trust in said certificates, even after DigiCert said it won’t repeat the same mistakes as Symantec.

The first step Mozilla took was to warn site owners about Symantec certificates issued before June 1, 2016, and encourage them to replace their TLS certificates.

Starting with Firefox 60, users see a warning when the browser encounters websites using certificates issued before June 1, 2016 that chain up to a Symantec root certificate.

According to Mozilla, less than 0.15% of websites were impacted by this change when Firefox 60 arrived in May. Most site owners were receptive and replaced their old certificates.

“The next phase of the consensus plan is to distrust any TLS certificate that chains up to a Symantec root, regardless of when it was issued […]. This change is scheduled for Firefox 63,” Mozilla’s Wayne Thayer notes in a blog post.

That browser release is currently planned for October 23, 2018 (it will arrive in Beta on September 5).

At the moment, around 3.5% of the top 1 million websites are still using Symantec certificates that will be impacted by the change. While the number is high, it represents a 20% improvement over the past two months, and Mozilla is confident that site owners will take action in due time.

“We strongly encourage website operators to replace any remaining Symantec TLS certificates immediately to avoid impacting their users as these certificates become distrusted in Firefox Nightly and Beta over the next few months,” Thayer concludes.  

Google too is on track to distrust all Symantec certificates on October 23, 2018, when Chrome 70 is expected to land in the stable channel. Released in April, Chrome 66 has already removed trust in certificates issued by Symantec's legacy PKI before June 1, 2016.

Related: Chrome 66 Distrusts Older Symantec Certificates

Related: Firefox 63 to Distrust All Symantec Root Certificates

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