Google to revoke trust in a Symantec root certificate

Website owners and developers who have certificates linked to the soon-to-be-retired CA should get new ones

Very soon, the Android OS, Chrome browser and other Google products will stop trusting all digital certificates that are linked to a 20-year-old Verisign root certificate.

The announcement comes after Symantec unveiled plans to retire the Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority from public use. This is a widely trusted CA that it acquired along with Verisign's SSL business in 2010.

In an alert, the company said that as of Dec. 1, it no longer was using the root certificate, which is trusted by default in most browsers and operating systems, to issue TLS/SSL or code signing certificates.

The company advises owners of digital certificates that chain back to the Class 3 Public Primary CA to obtain new ones that link back to a more modern root. Such replacement certificates are available for free.

According to Google, Symantec will not completely kill off the Class 3 Public Primary CA root and intends to use it for new, unspecified purposes. Because of this, the browser maker cannot guarantee that non-public certificates issued under this root in the future won't be used to "intercept, disrupt, or impersonate the secure communication of Google’s products or users."

"As Symantec is unwilling to specify the new purposes for these certificates, and as they are aware of the risk to Google’s users, they have requested that Google take preventative action by removing and distrusting this root certificate," said Ryan Sleevi, a Google software engineer, in a blog post.

The company will remove two versions of the Class 3 Public Primary CA certificate from its products' trust lists. One version is signed with SHA-1, a hashing algorithm that is in the process of being phased out, and one is signed with MD2, an even older hashing function. Both versions were issued in 1996 and are set to expire in 2028.

According to Google, Symantec doesn't believe that any of its customers who operate HTTPS websites, or their users, will be impacted. However, in its own advisory Symantec acknowledges that users might receive errors in the future if they try to access websites whose certificates chain back to the distrusted root.

This might also happen with signed applications if OS makers also start removing the Class 3 Public Primary CA certificate from their trust lists. Therefore developers should also change their certificates if their chain back to this root and re-sign their code.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?