Bonum Certa Men Certa

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is Fine, Centralised Certificate Authorities (CAs) Are Not

Video download link | md5sum b147528fd1ea28881ed4578632fbd8b7 War on Decentralised Internet and Computing Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: There's a lot of misconception/misunderstandings about what the Certificate Authorities (CAs) are, what they're for, how they work, and why they don't actually tackle the biggest security and privacy problems, they're mostly about centralisation of control and outsourcing of "trust" from pertinent sites/services to monopolies, empires, and oligarchs

SOME days ago someone was "[s]houting out to @tuxmachines to check your server. SSL certificate-based error messages are flying..."

This was not unforeseen. A lot of people sadly believe what Web browsers tell them, not bothering to take into account the agenda promoted by such Web browsers. It's about control and centralisation, it's not about security and/or privacy. A "malicious Web site can easily get a TLS certificate from a CA and turn the padlock on your browser green and go ahead and load," DaemonFC reminds us. "And it's still a malicious Web site."

"Let's Encrypt even admits that they do nothing to protect you from a malicious Web site, and suggest reporting those to Google and Microsoft," DaemonFC adds.

"A lot has happened since then, notably Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in a lot of censorship inside Russia, by Russia, and against Russia."Those who say that getting a 'good' certificate is 'free' may be missing the point. It is like buying a 'secure' boot certificate from Microsoft on the 'cheap' (until the OEMs toss them out). We wrote about this in relation to Certificate Authorities before, with focus on the "big fish", Let's Encrypt [1, 2, 3], or LE.

The video above revisits this subject. A lot has happened since then, notably Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in a lot of censorship inside Russia, by Russia, and against Russia. Now that the centralised systems are in place, censorship is vastly stronger. Is this security???

A given Gemini address is accessible so long as there's a certificate in place, even a self-signed one (vouching for oneself). The same model ought to have been adopted for the Web. For online banking it would help if banks sent expected fingerprints, e.g. by post. Outsourcing to monopolies isn't the way to go.

"Outsourcing to monopolies isn't the way to go."Readers might correctly spot the resemblance or notice the similarity to UEFI 'secure' boot. First they start with recommendations, saying it is all about security and enhancing safety. And then intimidation, seeking compliance from people who disregard the recommendations. Finally, they resort to outright locking out (blocking) anything that is not submissive, e.g. after 90% or more have already surrendered. So this is a form of blackmail for lock-down, initially marketed as a well-meaning security scheme. They're insincere about motives. Nothing here is "free"...

Right now, after we've witnessed expansion in Web censorship, we believe stronger resistance will be needed by explaining to people what's happening. Remember that this is not about security; it's all about control and one day revoking certificates can be weaponised further and further, just like DNS-level censorship, denial of ClownFlare access, and so on. They typically start with "pirates", "terrorism", and "the children" before resorting to political angles. CAs can very easily and immediately be leveraged for outright censorship.

"Finally, they resort to outright locking out (blocking) anything that is not submissive, e.g. after 90% or more have already surrendered."In the video above I remind people that the Linux Foundation's LE has already revoked millions of cerificates before (without even properly explaining what had happened!) and it'll happen again sooner or later. Maybe at some point they'll just decide to revoke all LE certificates for Russian sites, citing some political "sanctions". Then what? Who's next?

As an associate noted yesterday, "those that control the signing authorities can issue revocations at any time they feel like it and for any reason they feel like..."

In the case of Debian, we recently saw how trademarks get leveraged to censor criticism and hide problems. They just confiscate critics' Web sites. Maybe we'll do a video about this soon, seeing that the site is now succeeded by and It's a namespace battle in DNS.

DaemonFC concludes: "The only thing that HTTPS does do is help keep what you do to interact with the server private from outsiders, and that is important. But if you fall for a site claiming to be your bank because it has a green padlock, that doesn't help you avoid a scam. One of the reasons I used to promote HTTPS Everywhere to everyone was because I believed the user should have the option to try to force it on with as many sites as possible. But I never would have argued for a system where HTTP is basically deprecated without TLS and browsers try to say there's something wrong with accessing such a Web site if you don't mind your information between your browser and that site remaining private. It's a good "upgrade". It is. It stops things like the Man-In-The-Middle Attacks that Comcast was using in order to spam its customers and inject advertisements into Web pages. So that's why I started using it. I thought it was outrageous that wherever I went, here's Comcast injecting alerts about data usage or ads for their TV package into my Google searches. HTTPS breaking that is a happy side-effect of what it does."

"I was big on the idea of bringing CACert into the certificates package used by Mozilla, but they always found some bullshit reason not to. Like, they didn't even want to talk about it. The whole situation with certificates is a legacy of Netscape. All of the old "players" that are really valuable and "trusted" by just about everything started out that way because Netscape Corporation put them in the Netscape Navigator browser. Then Microsoft came along with their stolen Internet Explorer product (they stiffed Spyglass Mosaic and then didn't pay them) and lobbed all the same certificates in so that sites working in Netscape Navigator would also load in Internet Explorer. And then the tragedy just kept expanding from there. Opera had to throw all the same certificates in because they've never had more than 2% of the browser market. The user has really no control over how this works. It's always been 100% Big Business. From Netscape to Microsoft to Apple and Google."

"Remember when they had that Diginotar CA that was compromised? An entire CA! They had to revoke and remove an entire CA. What a mess that was. Everything in that "chain of trust" was broken and all the sites that used it had to get new certificates, and many Windows and Mac developers got caught with their pants down and had security alerts warning the users not to install the software that the OS was saying "THIS IS FINE!" about yesterday. That was hilarious, and sad. Sad because everyone watched what ensued and nothing was fixed. They revoked one CA and caused all sorts of Hell, but it could happen with any of them."

They still push this very same agenda for software, not only Web sites, various services (including IRC), and booting.

MinceR then said that "PKI as a whole is badly designed."

Recent Techrights' Posts

Linux Months-Old News (LWN Uncorrected)
They could at least update the original
This Week Fedora Celebrates Diversity, But It is Pushing Proprietary Software and Censorship
IBM openwashing, perception management, and reputation laundering gone awry?
EU 'Chat Control' Law is Already Discrediting the Stated Goals of GDPR
Equip kids with always-on always-connected microphones and double-sided cameras, just to be safe...
Links 20/06/2024: Bruce Schneier Adds Moderation Policy, FUCKSHITUP Can't Be Trademarked in the US
Links for the day
Mass Layoffs Happening in IBM Subsidiaries, Almost No Media Exists Anymore (to Cover That)
They can drive people out with R.T.O. of lay off in small batches to prevent any media scrutiny
Links 20/06/2024: Trying to Maintain Health and the Implosion of LLM Bubble/Hype
Links for the day
Microsoft's Bing Share in Canada Has Only Decreased Since the LLM Hype ("Bing Chat")
According to statCounter
Gemini Links 20/06/2024: Golden Ticket and Looking for Web 1.0 Communities
Links for the day
Not Even TRYING to Compete With Microsoft
CMA (UK) ought to step in and investigate why Canonical (UK) refuses to even compete
Poul-Henning Kamp: Why Freedom in 'FOSS' Matters
Openwashing is more widely recognised as a growing problem
[Meme] EU Chat Control: The Problem is Too Much Privacy???
So what's with GDPR then? The EU is contradicting itself!
Lithuania: GNU/Linux Usage Climbs to Highest Level in Years
consistent abandonment of Microsoft
"Remarkably Little Had Changed."
Black or African American not even mentioned
Rumours That Nat Friedman (CEO) Was 'Fired' by GitHub/Microsoft
"Microsoft Refused to Fix Flaw Years Before SolarWinds Hack" A Step in a Positive Direction
We hope that Guardian Digital and will rectify the matter and persist with real articles
Links 20/06/2024: Somali Piracy Surges, Juneteenth Discussed
Links for the day
Gemini Links 20/06/2024: Gemini is 5 Today (Still No Gemlog Entry From its Founder)
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 19, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Morocco: GNU/Linux Surges From 0.1% to 4.21%
Microsoft has mass layoffs in Africa these days
[Meme] EU Chat Control II
Stuff like "Chat Control" means that GDPR will lose credibility and the true motives be rightly scrutinised/questioned
You're Only Proving Our Point, Sir
clearly obsessed with what we write
Just Because It Happened Over 20 Years Ago Doesn't Mean It's "Old News" or Stopped Happening
This strategy merely evolved
Thanking Solderpunk for 5 Years of Gemini Protocol
Long live Gemini Protocol and long live Solderpunk!
[Meme] He Who Controls the Boot
And licks the Microsoft boot
[Meme] systemd-recovery
Imagine "Linux" (Poetterix) becoming so unreliable that it needs factory resets
Almost Every Day This Month the GNU/Linux "Market Share" Grows in statCounter
Advocates like to see progress
Dawg, I Herd You Like Freedom
In the context of Software Freedom, little is ever said about free speech
Links 19/06/2024: Microsoft Faces Big Backlash, Bytedance Referred to US Department of Justice
Links for the day
Gemini Protocol Turns 5 in 15 Hours
Geminispace is still very much alive
OSI's Blog is Still 100% "AI" Nonsense Sponsored by Microsoft (the Authors Are Also Salaried by Microsoft)
The founder of the OSI no longer supports the OSI
Poland is Another Country Where Bing Lost a Lot of Market Share Since the LLM Gimmicks
down from 3.24% to 2.4%
Jean-Pierre Giraud, Possible Forgeries & Debian: elections, judgments, trademark already canceled, archaeologist
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
It Took Microsoft More Than 3 Years to Get a Quarter of Windows Users to 'Upgrade' to Vista 11 (3 Out of 4 Windows Users Still Reject It)
That is exactly what's happening right now
[Meme] The Empire
Don't be like Putin
They Want 'Transparency' Only for the General Public (Every Bit of Communication Available to the Government, Usually Via Corporations)
The EU might decide to effectively ban SSH
Justices Jeremy Johnson and Victoria Sharp to Decide the Fate of Julian Assange in About Three Weeks
Will he be back home in Australia by year's end?
Free Software Won't Fix Equality, But It Helps
Let's examine Free software in the context of: 1) money. 2) justice.
Treating Them as Teammates, Not as Political Props, Trophies, or Objects
Most of the world's people are women
Links 19/06/2024: SFTP and Gopher Milestone
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 18, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, June 18, 2024
US Surgeon General's Advice on Social Control Media (and "Smart" Phones) Seems Reasonable
People forget what the real world is about
Quiet at Planet Debian has not had any updates since 5 days ago
Belarus: Bing Fell From 1.1% to 0.6% Since Microsoft Started the LLM Hype (Yandex is 50 Times Bigger Than Bing)
Now enter Belarus
Morale at Microsoft Sinks to New Lows
The annual 'Employee Signals' survey showed a drop from 69% to 62% in positive responses
Microsoft Windows is Being Abandoned in the UK, Relative to Other Platforms (New All-Time Lows)
Windows at new lows
Links 18/06/2024: More Executives Leave Microsoft, Attacks on the Press in Russia and 'Exile'
Links for the day
[Meme] Always Livecasting
Wait Till Systemd-Recall
Australia: Bing Lost Market Share Since the LLM Hype ("Bing Chat")
Google rose, Bing went down
Gemini Links 18/06/2024: Unconscious Consumption and Firewall Autoban
Links for the day
[Meme] Canonical Has Basically Become Novell II
Today's Canonical...
While Everyone is Furious at Vista 11 (Over TPM, Recall and Other Malicious 'Features') Canonical is Selling It to People
So the only thing Canonical says about Windows is that you should give it a try?
Links 18/06/2024: Adobe and Internet Archive in Trouble
Links for the day
Peter Duffy Explains SystemD
Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer!
[Meme] The Doyen and the Colonel
EPO continues to prioritise lawbreaking over knowledge
EPO Union Action: Next Week SUEPO The Hague and SUEPO Munich Talk About New Pension Scheme (NPS) and Salary Savings Plan (SSP)
So there are basically 32 days left for more people to intervene
[Meme] Wait Till Systemd-Recall
The only thing Linux still needs is a forensics backdoor
GNU/Linux Up This Month in India (or Why Famous Criminal Bill Gates Keeps Visiting Modi)
truth tends to catch up with people
Microsoft Poetterix is Work in Progress
Linux's New DRM Panic 'Blue Screen of Death' In Action
24/7 Work Discipline
it's not so much about how much (or how long) one works, it's about how one works and whether one feels comfortable doing it
Adamant Conformism is an Enemy of Science
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man"
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 17, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, June 17, 2024
Links 18/06/2024: Further Mass Layoffs and Gemini Leftovers
Links for the day
At IBM, "Brownnosing is the Norm."
Many of these comments are from IBM insiders
Myanmar/Burma: Google Gains One Percent, Microsoft Loses One Percent Since the LLM Hype ('Bing Chat')
it's not hard to understand LLMs didn't replace real search and didn't replace Google, either
[Meme] KISS, not SAAS
Gemini Protocol turns 5 in exactly 2 days
Hostageware: The Threat of Clown Computing (or 'SaaS', Another Misnomer or Buzzword) to Computer Users Everywhere
This problem isn't limited to Free software adopters