Tag Archives: OCSP

Reading ocspreport and crlreport at x509labs.com

As you may know I have been hosting some performance and up-time monitors at: http://ocspreport.x509labs.com and http://crlreport.x509labs.com.

I started this project about six months ago when I walked the CAB Forum membership list, visited the sites of the larger CAs on that list, looked at their certificates and extracted both OCSP and CRL urls and added them into custom monitor running on AWS nodes.

Later I tried Pingdom and finally settled on using Monitis because Pingdom doesn’t let you control which monitoring points are used and doesn’t give you the ability to do comparison views. That said as a product I liked Pingdom much better.

As for how I configured Monitis, I did not do much — I set the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for uptime to 10 seconds which is the time required to be met by the CABFORUM for revocation responses. I also selected all of the monitoring locations (30 of them) and set it loose.

I put this up for my own purposes, so I could work on improving our own service but I have also shared it publicly and know several of the other CAs that are being monitored are also using it which I am happy to see.

OK, so today I found myself explaining a few things about these reports to someone so I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize those points for others, they are:

  1. Why is it so slow to render? – Unfortunately despite numerous requests to Monitis there is nothing I can do about this – Monitis is just slow.
  2. Why does it show downtime so often? – I do not believe the downtime figures, most of the time the failures show up on all of the urls. The times I have looked into theses it turned out the failures were at Monitis or due to regional network congestion / failures. Unfortunately this means we cannot rely on these figures for up-time assessment, at best they are indicators when looked at over long periods of time.
  3. Why do some tests show at 0-1 ms? – This is likely because the Monitis testing servers are located in the same data center as the OCSP servers in question. This skews the performance numbers a little bit but the inclusion of many perspectives should off-set this.

At this point I suspect you’re wondering, with these shortcomings what is this thing good for anyways? That’s a good question; OCSP (and CRLs) are a hidden tax that you and your users pay when they visit your site.

This is important because studies have found a direct correlation between latency and user abandonment and seriously who doesn’t just want their site to be fast as possible.

My hope is these resources help you understand what that tax is; if you’re a CA operator it can also help you tweak your performance as well as get an idea of what the global user experience is for the relying parties of your certificates.

On a related note I do think someone could make a pretty penny if they made an easy to use, yet powerful monitoring site 🙂

Serving OCSP POST responses on a CDN

The other day I did a blog post on how we are using a CDN to front our OCSP services, the CDN we are using is CloudFlare who is one of our partners.

In that blog post I mentioned that POSTs requests from an OCSP client would normally be a cache miss for a CDN and this introduces additional latency in serving these responses.

Even though the response times we were getting had this additional latency the performance was still acceptable but we wanted to do better so a few weeks ago I went to the CloudFlare office and worked with them on making their services OCSP aware.

Specifically we made it so that when they get an OCSP POST they can determine what cached response to return (for example from a prior GET) instead of going back to our responders to have our responder do that for them.

As of today this change has gone live, as you know I love numbers which is why I have been publishing these repository performance numbers. What you will see if you look at those is that our worldwide average is right around 100ms, if we take out china and Australia that figure drops to around 60ms.

The problem with these numbers is they only test the GET variant of the protocol, that is because neither Pingdom nor Monitis let me simulate binary POSTs (which is what the OCSP POST variant looks like).

With that said we can extrapolate what the numbers look like fairly easily; from my current network location (which is slow) this is what I see:



What I want you to notice here is that over 15 requests when I do a POST to the CDN instance of our responder I get the same response time average as I do when I perform the same test with the GET variant.

What this tells us is that POST is performing the exact same as a GET which from this we can safely say that in our case the performance numbers I have been publishing for GET are also accurate for POSTs.

What you will also see that our responder is slower to server via POST, this is because it is designed around nonced OCSP requests and as such isn’t optimized as much as it could be for caching them.

I should also note that our decision to put a CDN in front of our OCSP responder does not break clients that want to send nonced requests (no browsers do by default btw), these are simply treated as a cache miss.


How to seed the CryptoAPI URL cache with an OCSP response

It is possible to “staple” an OCSP response into higher level protocols such as TLS. This concept has been supported in Windows since Windows VISTA, shortly after it was added to OpenSSL/Apache and soon it will also be in Nginx.

When “stapling” is used the subscriber (the web server in the TLS case) requests the status of his own certificate from the OCSP responder his CA operates to get a time valid OCSP response for his own certificate.

Since the OCSP response is signed by the CA it can be relayed by the web server for the duration in which that OCSP response is time valid to save the client of the web server (the relying party, aka the browser) the need to make an additional socket connection back to the CA.

This has both performance and privacy benefits.

You can apply the same concept to other PKI related protocols/applications as well, for example in a document signing application like Adobe Acrobat. In such an application the subscriber might sign the document, timestamp it using a timestamp protocol like RFC 3161 and then attach a time valid OCSP response to it so that the document is verifiable at a later date.

This scenario is important not only for its performance and privacy benefits but because it is a practical necessity because CAs do not typically maintain revocation information (OCSP responses and CRLs) for expired certificates.

By stapling the OCSP response to the signed and time-stamped document the relying party can verify the signature, the certificates and the revocation status of the certificates in the context of the timestamp that was attached to the document.

But how do you do that with CryptoAPI?

It’s actually pretty straight forward, as the relying party when you call CertGetCertificateChain to validate the associated certificate you need to:

  1. Once you have verified your timestamp is cryptographically valid and trusted, take the time it and pass it in as pTime.
  2. On the CERT_CONTEXT there is a CERT_INFO structure that contains an array of CERT_EXTENSION, here you create an extension of type CERT_OCSP_RESPONSE_PROP_ID and in there you put a basic signed OCSP response .

When CryptoAPI does the chain validation it will try to use the OCSP response you passed in, if it finds a problem with the provided response it may go online to get a new one that is “OK”.

This online behavior can be controlled by indicating to CertGetCertificateChain you do not want online revocation checking (see CERT_CHAIN_REVOCATION_CHECK_CACHE_ONLY).


CryptoAPI, Revocation checking, OCSP and the Unknown certStatus

In CryptoAPI one can use the CertGetCertificateChain API to do the path building and basic chain validation, this validation may include revocation checking depending on which flags you pass via dwFlags; for example these flags control if revocation checking occurs, and if so, on which certificates:


Typically you would specify CERT_CHAIN_REVOCATION_CHECK_CHAIN_EXCLUDE_ROOT which ensures the whole chain is checked (where possible – e.g. one shouldn’t bother asking the root if he considers himself revoked).

But in the context of OCSP what are the potential revocation related returns we might see?

  1. Revoked – I have received a signed response from the CA or have had policy pushed to me that tells me that this certificate is not to be trusted.
  2. Not Revoked – I have received a signed response from the CA that says this certificate was not revoked.
  3. Unknown – I have received signed response from the CA that says it doesn’t know anything about this certificate.
  4. Offline – I was unable to reach the responder to verify the status of the certificate.

Each of these cases are clearly represented in the API that is used by CertGetCertificateChain to perform the revocation check, this API is CertVerifyRevocation. The higher level CertGetCertificateChain however only has two possible returns: Revoked and Unknown outside the “not revoked” case.

One might assume the OCSP Unknown would get mapped into the Revoked state, this unfortunately is not the case, it is returned as unknown, as does the Offline error.

This means that if OCSP was used you cannot tell what the actual status was, this is especially problematic since IE and Chrome both default to modes where they ignore “Unknown” revocations due to concerns over Revocation responder performance and reliability.

It is possible to work around this platform behavior though — the problem is that it’s not documented anywhere, let’s take a quick stab at doing that here.

First since CertGetCertificateChain doesn’t tell us what method was used to do revocation checking we have to use heuristics to figure it out. Thankfully to enable OCSP stapling in higher level protocols like TLS the OCSP response is passed back to the caller if OCSP was used; to get that we need to know:

1. The CERT_CHAIN_ELEMENT in the returned CHAIN_CONTEXT points to the following revocation information:

  • PCERT_REVOCATION_INFO pRevocationInfo;
  • PCCRL_CONTEXT           pBaseCrlContext;

2. For an OCSP response, the CRL_CONTEXT is specially created to contain the full OCSP response in the following critical extension szOID_PKIX_OCSP_BASIC_SIGNED_RESPONSE.

  • The presence of this extension indicates an OCSP response was used.
  • The Issuer name in the CRL is the name of the OCSP signer.
  • The signature algorithm is sha1NoSign.
  • ThisUpdate and NextUpdate contain the response validity period.

With this we can take the OCSP response from the CRL_CONTEXT and then look at the “ResponseData” within it, you will need to look within the “responses” here,  you will need to find the right “SingleResponse” based on its “CertID”.

NOTE: Some responders will return the status of multiple certificates in a response even if the status of only one was requested.

You now can determine what the responder said the status of the certificate was by inspecting “certStatus” element.

This is a fair amount of work unfortunately but it does enable you to do the right thing with authoritative “Unknown” responses.


Serving OCSP on a CDN

So last week we moved our revocation repositories behind a CDN, this has a number of great benefits but it does have downsides though, for example.

  1. Cache misses result in a slower response – About a 110ms in my tests.
  2. OCSP clients that create POSTs get a slower response – This is because they are treated like a cache miss.

Our CDN provider mitigates much he first issue by having a pre-loader that ensures its cache is pre-populated based on request history.

Addressing the second issue requires the CDN provider to be aware of OCSP protocol semantics, specifically the fact that one can compute what a GET request would look like by simply Base64 encoding the binary body of the POST variation.

A CDN with knowledge of this can optimize out the POST derived cache miss, our CDN has done this the change has not yet propagated to all of their datacenters but where it has POST performs the same as a GET.

Hopefully this optimization will have propagated to all their datacenters by next week, when this logic is fully deployed the clients that generate POST based OCSP requests (without a nonce) will also have ~100ms response times.

I should probably ad that in our case almost all of the POST based OCSP requests we receive come from Firefox and do not contain a nonce, hopefully soon Firefox will move to using GET for requests without a nonce like other clients.

Using Monitis to monitor OCSP and CRL performance

Earlier I did a post on the performance of revocation repositories, in that I used the Monitis do some basic bench-marking for repository performance.

They have a cool feature that allows me to create a public monitoring portal on one of my own domains, I have created two:

  1. OCSP Performance
  2. CRL Performance

It also looks like CloudFlare (one of our CDN partners), the ones we are working with to get these great numbers have also done a blog post on what we are doing here – cool stuff!



Revocation repositories, IPv6 support, message size, and performance

So the last few weeks I have spent a reasonable amount of time looking at performance and networking related problems associated with revocation repositories. I still have some additional work to do but I figured I would capture some of my findings in a quick post.

CRL repositories and IPv6
CA Host Supports V6
GlobalSign crl.globalsign.com Yes
Comodo crl.comodoca.com No/Sometimes
CyberTrust sureseries-crl.cybertrust.ne.jp No
Symantec/GeoTrust EVSSL-crl.geotrust.com No
Symantec/VeriSign EVIntl-crl.verisign.com No
DigiCert crl3.digicert.com No
StartSSL crl.startssl.com No
TrustWave crl.securetrust.com No
TrustCenter crl.ix.tcclass3.tcuniversal-i.trustcenter.de No
GoDaddy crl.godaddy.com No
Entrust crl.entrust.net No
Certum crl.certum.pl No

* IPv6 Capability was checked via http://ipv6-test.com/validate.php


OCSP repositories and IPv6
CA Host Supports V6
GlobalSign ocsp.globalsign.com Yes
COMODO ocsp.comodoca.com No
GoDaddy ocsp.godaddy.com No
DigiCert ocsp.digicert.com No
StartCom ocsp.startssl.com No
TrustCenter ocsp.tcuniversal-I.trustcenter.de No
TrustWave ocsp.trustwave.com No
Enstrust ocsp.entrust.net No
Symantec/GeoTrust ocsp.geotrust.com No
Symantec/VeriSign ocsp.verisign.com No
CyberTrust sureseries-ocsp.cybertrust.ne.jp No
Certum ocsp.certum.pl No

* IPv6 Capability was checked via http://ipv6-test.com/validate.php


CRL Size
CA CRL Size # Entries
Certum http://crl.certum.pl/evca.crl 862 7
Symantec/Geotrust http://EVSSL-crl.geotrust.com/crls/gtextvalca.crl 720 12
Cybertrust http://sureseries-crl.cybertrust.ne.jp/SureServer/2021_ev/cdp.crl 1742 17
GlobalSign http://crl.globalsign.com/gs/gsextendvalg2.crl 1114 18
TrustWave http://crl.securetrust.com/STCA.crl 2158 65
StartSSL http://crl.startssl.com/crt4-crl.crl 2339 90
DigiCert http://crl3.digicert.com/evca1-g1.crl 5393 100
GoDaddy http://crl.godaddy.com/gds3-37.crl 6848 153
Comodo http://crl.comodoca.com/COMODOExtendedValidationSecureServerCA.crl 12959 351
TrustCenter http://crl.ix.tcclass3.tcuniversal-i.trustcenter.de/crl/v2/tc_class3_L1_CA_IX.crl 16138 407
Entrust http://crl.entrust.net/level1e.crl 40995 1005
Symantec/VeriSign http://EVIntl-crl.verisign.com/EVIntl2006.crl 207922 5972
* CRL count was determined using “curl url>crl & openssl crl -in crl -inform der -text | grep -c “Serial”
* Size was determined using the Content-Length header, “curl –verbose –url *”


OCSP response Size
CA Host Size
Comodo ocsp.comodoca.com 471
Digicert ocsp.digicert.com 471
GlobalSign ocsp2.globalsign.com 1491
CyberTrust sureseries-ocsp.cybertrust.ne.jp 1588
StartSSL ocsp.startssl.com 1596
Symantec/Verisign ocsp.verisign.com 1739
GoDaddy ocsp.godaddy.com 1923
Entrust ocsp.entrust.net 1939
Certum ocsp.certum.pl 2113
Trustwave ocsp.trustwave.com 2519
TrustCenter ocsp.tcuniversal-I.trustcenter.de 3135
Symantec/Geotrust ocsp.geotrust.com 3346

* Size was determined using the Content-Length header, “curl –verbose –url *”


OCSP Response Performance
CA Host Average (ms)
GlobalSign ocsp2.globalsign.com


DigiCert ocsp.digicert.com


GoDaddy ocsp.godaddy.com


COMODO ocsp.comodoca.com


StartCom ocsp.startssl.com


Enstrust ocsp.entrust.net


Symantec/GeoTrust ocsp.geotrust.com


Symantec/VeriSign ocsp.verisign.com


TrustWave ocsp.trustwave.com


TrustCenter ocsp.tcuniversal-I.trustcenter.de


CyberTrust sureseries-ocsp.cybertrust.ne.jp


Certum ocsp.certum.pl


* Measuring with Monitis points in US-MID, US-EST-US-WST, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, UK, Sweden, China, Austrailia, Signapore, Japan were used.


CRL Repository Performance
CA Host Average (ms)
GlobalSign crl.globalsign.com 101
DigiCert crl3.digicert.com 102
Entrust crl.entrust.net 120
Comodo crl.comodoca.com 178
GoDaddy crl.godaddy.com 186
StartCom crl.startssl.com 267
TrustWave crl.securetrust.com 272
Symantec/GeoTrust EVSSL-crl.geotrust.com 298
Symantec/Verisign EVIntl-crl.verisign.com 298
TrustCenter crl.ix.tcclass3.tcuniversal-i.trustcenter.de 371
Certum crl.certum.pl 426
CyberTrust sureseries-crl.cybertrust.ne.jp 454
* Measuring with Monitis points in US-MID, US-EST-US-WST, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, UK, Sweden, China, Austrailia, Signapore, Japan were used.


Setting HTTP headers with OpenSSL and the OCSP test client

So I have been doing some OCSP performance bench-marking the last few weeks, one of the things we noticed while doing this is that OpenSSL does not set the HOST header when sending requests.

This is a problem when interacting with a OCSP responder that is on a shared host (a virtual host), without it the web-server doesn’t know which instance to send the request to. You can work around this by using the “-header” command, for example:

openssl ocsp -noverify -no_nonce -respout ocspglobalsignca.resp -reqout ocspglobalsignca.req -issuer globalsigng2.cer -cert globalsign.com.cer -url “http://ocsp2.globalsign.com/gsextendvalg2” -header “HOST'” “ocsp2.globalsign.com”

You need to ensure the HOST header is set consistently with the host contained in the -url switch but it works.


Measuring OCSP Responder Performance with Powershell

The other day I did a post about testing if OCSP stapling was working, but what about telling how fast your OCSP responder is?

Well that is what this post is about, on Unix based systems with curl you would do something along these lines:

time curl –verbose –url http://ocsp2.globalsign.com/gsextendvalg2/MFMwUTBPME0wSzAJBgUrDgMCGgUA



But there is no time on Windows so how can you do it there?

Measure-Command {Start-Process -wait “curl” “-verbose “”http://ocsp2.globalsign.com/gsextendvalg2/MFMwUTBPME0wSzAJBgUrDgMCGgUA




Days : 0
Hours : 0
Minutes : 0
Seconds : 0
Milliseconds : 53
Ticks : 531200
TotalDays : 6.14814814814815E-07
TotalHours : 1.47555555555556E-05
TotalMinutes : 0.000885333333333333
TotalSeconds : 0.05312
TotalMilliseconds : 53.12


Here you see that it took 53 milliseconds to run the command, its important to note that there different overhead buried each time measurement approach (time vs Measure-Command) that make it inappropriate to compare the results from two approaches. With that said its still a good way to measure performance over time when using a single measurement approach.

Also if you wanted to do the same measurement for POSTs the command would look like one of these :

Measure-Command {Start-Process -wait “openssl” “ocsp -noverify -no_nonce -respout ocspglobalsignca.resp -reqout ocspglobalsignca.req

-issuer globalsigng2.cer -cert globalsign.com.cer -url “”http://ocsp2.globalsign.com/gsextendvalg2″” -header “”HOST”” “”ocsp2.globalsign.com”””}


Measure-Command {Start-Process -wait “curl” “-verbose -data-binary  @ocspglobalsignca.req -H “”Content-Type:application/ocsp-request””


A look at the new Windows Update SSL certificates

This morning I noticed a tweet by Mikko about the Windows Update certificate chain looking odd so I decided to take a look myself.

I started with the webserver configuration using SSLLABS, unfortunately it did not fare well:

Looking a little closer we see a few things of interest:

  • SSLLABS is unable to validate the certificate
  • The server is using weak ciphers
  • The server is vulnerable to the BEAST attack
  • The server is not using an Extended Validation  (EV) Certificate
  • The server is supporting SSL 2.0

To understand the specifics here we needed to look a little deeper, the OpenSSL s_client is a great tool for this:

openssl s_client –showcerts -status –connect www.update.microsoft.com:443

Loading ‘screen’ into random state – done


OCSP response: no response sent

depth=1 C = US, ST = Washington, L = Redmond, O = Microsoft Corporation, CN = Microsoft Update Secure Server CA 1

verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate

verify return:0

Certificate chain

0 s:/C=US/ST=Washington/L=Redmond/O=Microsoft/OU=WUPDS/CN=www.update.microsoft.com

i:/C=US/ST=Washington/L=Redmond/O=Microsoft Corporation/CN=Microsoft Update Secure Server CA 1

1 s:/C=US/ST=Washington/L=Redmond/O=Microsoft Corporation/CN=Microsoft Update Secure Server CA 1

i:/DC=com/DC=microsoft/CN=Microsoft Root Certificate Authority

Server certificate




1 s:/C=US/ST=Washington/L=Redmond/O=Microsoft Corporation/CN=Microsoft Update S

ecure Server CA 1

i:/DC=com/DC=microsoft/CN=Microsoft Root Certificate Authority




subject=/C=US/ST=Washington/L=Redmond/O=Microsoft/OU=WUPDS/CN=www.update.microsoft.com issuer=/C=US/ST=Washington/L=Redmond/O=Microsoft Corporation/CN=Microsoft Update

Secure Server CA 1

No client certificate CA names sent

SSL handshake has read 3403 bytes and written 536 bytes

New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is AES128-SHA

Server public key is 2048 bit

Secure Renegotiation IS supported

Compression: NONE

Expansion: NONE


Protocol  : TLSv1

Cipher    : AES128-SHA

Session-ID: 33240000580DB2DE3D476EDAF84BEF7B357988A66A05249F71F4B7C90AB62986



Master-Key: BD56664815654CA31DF75E7D6C35BD43D03186A2BDA4071CE188DF3AA296B1F9674BE721C90109179749AF2D7F1F6EE5

Key-Arg   : None

PSK identity: None

PSK identity hint: None

Start Time: 1339954151

Timeout   : 300 (sec)

Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate)



With this detail we can also look at the certificates with the Windows Certificate viewer, we just extract the server certificate Base64 and put it into a text file with a .cer extension and open it with Explorer:



From these we see a few additional things:

  • OCSP Stapling is not enabled on the server
  • The issuing CA was created on 5/30/2012 at 8:49pm
  • The issuing CA was issued by the 2001 SHA1 “Microsoft Root Authority”

So with this extra information let’s tackle each of these observations and see what conclusions we come to.


SSLLABS is unable to validate the certificate; there are two possible reasons:

a. The server isn’t including the intermediate certificates (it is) and SSLLABS doesn’t chase intermediates specified in the AIA:IssuerCert extension (doubt it does) or that extension isn’t present (it is).

b. The Root CA isn’t trusted by SSLLABS (which appears to be the case here).

My guess based on this is that Ivan only included the certificates in the “Third-Party Root Certification Authorities” store and did not include those in the “Trusted Root Certification Authorities” which are required for Windows to work.

Basically he never expected these Roots to be used to authenticate a public website.

[2:00 PM 6/18/2012] Ivan has confirmed he currently only checks the Mozilla trusted roots, therefor this root wouldn’t be trusted by SSLLABS.

Microsoft’s decision to use this roots means that any browser that doesn’t use the CryptoAPI certificate validation functions (Safari, Opera, Chrome on non-Windows platforms, Firefox, etc.) will fail to validate this certificate.

This was probably done to allow them to do pinning using the “Microsoft” policy in CertVerifyCertificateChainPolicy.

I believe this was not the right approach since I think it’s probably legitimate to use another browser to download patches.

[2:00 PM 6/18/2012] The assumption in this statement (and it may turn out I am wrong) is that it is possible for someone to reach a path where from a browser they can download patches; its my understanding this is an experience that XP machines using a different browser have when visiting this URL I — I have not verified this.

[3:00 PM 6/18/2012] Harry says that you have not been able to download from these URLs without IE ever, so this would be a non-issue if that is the case.

To address this Microsoft would need to either:

  • Have their PKI operate in accordance with the requirements that other CAs have to meet and be audited and be found to meet the requirements of each of the root programs that are out there.
  • Have two separate URLs and certificate chains one for the website anchored under a publicly trusted CA and another under this private “Product” root. The manifests would be downloaded from the “Product” root backed host and the web experience would be from the “Public” root backed host.
  • Cross certifying the issuing CA “Microsoft Update Secure Server CA 1” under a public CA also (cross certification), for example under their IT root that is publically trusted and include that intermediate in the web server configuration also. Then have a CertVerifyCertificateChainPolicy implementation that checks for that CA instead of the “Product” roots.


The server is using weak ciphers; the server is using several weak ciphers:

I see no reason to support the MD5 based ciphers as I find it hard to believe that there are any clients that can communicate with this site that do not support their SHA1 equivalents.


[2:00 PM 6/18/2012] I have been told I am too critical by calling these MD5 based ciphers as weak in that they are used as HMAC, it is true that when used with a key as is the case with HMAC the current attacks are not relevant. With that said any client that supports these suites will also support their SHA1 counterpart and there is no reason to support the weaker suites that use MD5.


The server is vulnerable to the BEAST attack; and SSLLABS isn’t able to tell if the server is specifying a cipher suite preference, this means it probably is not.

It is the cipher suite ordering issue that is actually resulting in the warning about the BEAST attack though. It is addressed by putting RC4 cipher suites at the top of the cipher suite order list.

[2:00 PM 6/18/2012] It’s been argued the BEAST attack isn’t relevant here because the client is normally not a browser, these pages that are returned do contain JS and there are cases where users visit it via the browser — otherwise there would not be HTML and JS in them. As such the attacker could use the attack to influence you to install malicious content as if it came from Microsoft. Maybe its not a leakage of personal information initially but its an issue.


It is not using an Extended Validation (EV) Certificate; this is an odd one, is an EV certificates necessary when someone is attesting to their own identity? Technically I would argue no, however no one can reasonably expect a user to go and look at a certificate chain and be knowledgeable enough to that this is what is going on.

The only mechanism to communicate the identity to the user in as clear a way is to make the certificate be an EV certificate.

Microsoft really should re-issue this certificate as an EV certificate – if there was ever a case to be sure who you are talking to it would certainly include when you are installing kernel mode drivers.


The server is supporting SSL 2.0; this also has to be an oversight in the servers configuration of SSL 2.0 has been known to have numerous security issues for some time.

They need to disable this weak version of SSL.


OCSP Stapling is not enabled on the server; OCSP stapling allows a webserver to send its own revocations status along with its certificate improving performance, reliability and privacy for revocation checking. According to Netcraft Windows Update is running on IIS 7 which supports it by default.

This means Microsoft is either not allowing these web servers to make outbound connections or they have explicitly disabled this feature (login.live.com has it enabled and working). While it is not a security issue per-se enabling it certainly is a best practice and since it’s on by default it seems they are intentionally not doing it for some reason.


The issuing CA was created on 5/30/2012 at 8:49pm; this isn’t a security issue but it’s interesting that the issuing CA was created four days before the Flame Security advisory. It was a late night for the folks operating the CA.


That’s it for now,