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Trustworthy Internet Movement Looks to Fix SSL, Certificate Authority Ecosystems

The Trustworthy Internet Movement (TIM), which officially made its debut at the RSA Conference earlier this year, today announced that it has chosen SSL governance and implementation across the Internet as the

The Trustworthy Internet Movement (TIM), which officially made its debut at the RSA Conference earlier this year, today announced that it has chosen SSL governance and implementation across the Internet as the first project it will take on.

Founded by Qualys CEO Philippe Courtot who pledged $500,000 in seed money to get the initiative off the ground, the TIM is aimed at taking on security issues fundamental to the Internet such as SSL governance and the spread of botnets and malware.

Trustworthy Internet MovementThe organization said that it has formed a taskforce comprised of security experts to review known issues surrounding SSL governance, and develop new proposals aimed at making SSL widespread across the Internet.

According to the organization, the SSL Internet Taskforce will work with experts to review all proposals to fix both SSL and Certificate Authority (CA) ecosystems. Based on the review, the taskforce plans to identify new recommendations aimed at steering the evolution of these ecosystems towards improved security.

The taskforce includes the following industry experts:

Michael Barrett – Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal

Taher Elgamal – Founder and Chief Identity Officer at IdentityMind and one of the creators of the SSL protocol

Ryan Hurst – Chief Technology Officer at GMO GlobalSign, author of lightweight OCSP and former lead for Windows PKI

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Adam Langley – Staff Software Engineer for Google, who works on SSL/TLS in Google Chrome and Google’s frontend servers

Moxie Marlinspike – Founder of Whisper Systems which was acquired by Twitter in November 2011, and creator of Convergenceand CloudCracker, a cloud-powered password cracking service.

Ivan Ristic – Director of Engineering at Qualys and creator of SSL Labs, a research project to measure and track the effective security of SSL on the Internet

“Nothing can be safe forever. The real question is not whether SSL is safe, but if we are updating our technology to keep up with threats and stay safe,” said Taher Elgamal, Chief Identity Officer at IdentityMind. “I am pleased to join this initiative to revisit SSL security and come up with new ways to improve it.”

In addition to announcing its first project, TIM launched SSL Pulse, a new index that tracks the progress of how well SSL is implemented across the top one million web sites.

SSL Pulse is powered by the assessment technology of SSL Labs, which is focused on auditing the SSL ecosystem, raising awareness, and providing tools and documentation to web site owners so they can improve their SSL implementations.

SSL Pulse is now tracking 198,216 web sites with valid certificates, which represent substantially all SSL sites in the Alexa top one million list. Of those, only about half (99,903 sites) get an A grade, and the rest could use improvement.

“Making SSL pervasive on the Internet is a must in order for the Web to become a safer place,” said Courtot. “Solving the implementation and governance problem can be achieved through industry collaboration and better auditing tools that give us visibility into the root causes of these issues and how to fix them.”

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