Google finds unauthorized certificate for domain, scrambles to protect users

The company updated its Chrome browser and notified other browser makers about the problem

Google has taken steps to close potential security holes created by a fraudulent certificate for its domain, discovered in late December.

The certificate was erroneously issued by an intermediate certificate authority (CA) linking back to TurkTrust, a Turkish CA.

"Intermediate CA certificates carry the full authority of the CA, so anyone who has one can use it to create a certificate for any website they wish to impersonate," wrote Adam Langley, a Google software engineer, in a blog post Thursday.

Google detected the existence of the certificate on Christmas Eve, updated its Chrome browser the next day to block the intermediate CA and notified TurkTrust and other browser makers about the problem.

TurkTrust then conducted its own investigation and found out that in August 2011 it had mistakenly issued two intermediate CA certificates to organizations that should have instead received regular SSL certificates, according to Langley.

Google then updated Chrome again to block the second CA certificate and again notified other browser vendors.

"Our actions addressed the immediate problem for our users. Given the severity of the situation, we will update Chrome again in January to no longer indicate Extended Validation status for certificates issued by TurkTrust, though connections to TurkTrust-validated HTTPS servers may continue to be allowed," Langley wrote.

Google may take additional steps in reaction to this issue, he added.

A Google spokesman said via e-mail that although TurkTrust mistakenly issued two intermediate certificates, only one was used to generate an unauthorized certificate.

"We believe there was one case of the certificate being used internally on a company's network," the spokesman said.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitybrowsersGooglesoftwareapplications

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >




Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?