How to mitigate the risk of the DigiNotar * SSL certificate

Given the recent news relating to DigiNotar issuing a certificate to an entity claiming to represent google that has turned out to be a malicious entity it’s probably most appropriate to cease trusting the DigiNotar root until the specifics of the issue have been identified.

As a practical matter they do little work outside the EU and are a very small player so your experience on the internet is not likely to be diminished as a result of not trusting them anyways.

That begs the question of how to do that? On the surface you might think what you need to do is to remove the DigiNotar root from your root store and in the case of Firefox, Opera that would do it (at least until they next patch and it gets added back in, that is unless they nix it too.).

In the case of IE and Chrome (which uses the Windows trust anchors) this is insufficient, there is a feature called “Automatic Root Update” ( that maintains the roots for you based on a policy that Microsoft maintains. When its enabled Windows will check with Windows Update as part of certificate validation to see if it should add a root to enable the path to build. You do not have to use this capability but I would not recommend disabling it unless you are a PKI savvy.

If that’s the path you follow, be sure to delete the root certificate from your Computer Accounts Third-Party Certification Authorities store also (if it happens not to be there, don’t fret if it isn’t that just means you have never encountered a certificate from them).

You also might want to check out a couple posts that Nasko has done relating to managing your own certificate store like this one ( and this one (

For everyone else all I would recommend is:

  1. Download the DigiNotar Root Certificate (
  2. Run mmc.exe
  3. Add the Certificate Management console
  4. Target it at the Computer Account certificate stores
  5. Add the DigiNotar Root Certificate to the “Untrusted Certificate” store

Now this is a bit more draconian than you may strictly need to but until its clear if it was the root that was compromised, a subordinate or their vetting practices the right thing to do is not to trust any certificates from them.

As I said before this is not likely to have any negative effects on your experience on the web and it will protect you from the attacks this issue represents.

I should note that I am assuming (and you know what they say about assumptions) that this is the only DigiNotar root, trusted by the browsers; I checked a few sources and it seems like that is the case but all of the CA trust programs do a poor job publishing this stuff these days. When I ran the Windows program we maintained a KB with the trusted CAs and their certificates in it, that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer, sigh.

Good luck,


P.S. Nasko has also done a good post on how to manage the root stores on Windows you can find it here (

P.P.S. I have verified that for sites that have been pinned Chrome (only Chrome and only Pinned) google will flag these, IMHO this is good but you still need to remove it to be safe in the other cases. (see:

P.P.P.S. Looks like all 3 major browsers have untrusted DigiNotar

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