Some of the previous proposals identified shorter validity periods for
those certificates issued under the Symantec PKI after a certain date and
also identified dates when prior Symantec Domain and Enterprise data
couldn't be reused (primarily by the Managed CAs).
In the latest proposal, are there any limits on re-use of domain validation
data or on the validity periods for certificates issued under the existing
PKI by Symantec, or is this business as usual until Chrome 70?
Representing Google Chrome and the Chromium open source project, what
follows is our final proposal on this matter.
Weâd like to first thank the blink-dev community for your input on this
discussion. After taking this input into consideration along with the
latest responses from Symantec and Mozilla, we have produced the following
proposal that is intended to be our final plan of action on this matter.
Chrome 66 will distrust Symantec-issued TLS certificates issued before
Chrome 66 will distrust Symantec-issued TLS certificates issued before
June 1, 2016, which is tentatively scheduled to hit Canary on January 19,
2018; Beta on March 15, 2018; and Stable (the vast majority of Chrome
users) on April 17, 2018. Affected site operators are strongly encouraged
to replace their TLS certificates before March 15, 2018 to prevent
breakage. Although this is significantly later than our initial proposal of
August 2017 and Mozillaâs proposal for late 2017
we think it hits an appropriate balance between the security risk to Chrome
users and minimizing disruption to the ecosystem. This time will allow
clear messaging and scheduling for site operators to update certificates.
We considered a number of alternative dates for distrusting this subset of
existing certificates before landing on Chrome 66. Given the scale of
Symantecâs existing PKI and the impact to the ecosystem that these
mitigations pose, one of our goals was to consider dates that gave site
operators enough lead time, as well as to try to clear end-of-year time
periods where production freezes are typically in place. Chrome 62 which
comes out in October 2017 was seriously considered, but was rejected due to
concerns around not giving enough lead time for site operators. Chrome 63
which comes out in December was rejected due to overlapping with
end-of-year freezes. Chrome 64 which comes out in late January 2018 was
strongly considered, but its early release channels also overlap with
holiday and end of year freezes. Chrome 65âs branch point is close to the
new year, and could present a challenge for some site operators. Hence,
Chrome 66 was chosen as the final approach.
Site operators currently using Symantec-issued TLS server certificates
that were issued before June 1, 2016 need to replace these certificates as
soon as possible to avoid disruption to their users. The distrust of these
certificates is necessary and is specifically targeted at removing the risk
of trusting old certificates that were issued under an inadequately
controlled infrastructure. Site operators can choose to obtain their
certificates from any trusted Certificate Authority. Although the old
infrastructure will be distrusted in the future (see below), site operators
with critical dependencies on Symantecâs current infrastructure may also
obtain replacement certificates from Symantec, provided these certificates
comply with the existing Chrome requirements
for new certificates issued from Symantec.
While we intend to stick with this schedule, if there is new information
highlighting additional security risks with this set of certificates, the
dates could change to more rapidly distrust the existing certificates.
Chrome 70 will distrust TLS certificates issued from Symantecâs old
In order to complete this migration, we will be removing trust in all
certificates issued by Symantecâs old infrastructure in Chrome 70. This
includes any replacement certificates issued by Symantec prior to the
transition to the non-Symantec-operated âManaged Partner Infrastructure
Chrome 70 is tentatively scheduled to first reach Beta on September 13,
2018 and Stable on October 23, 2018, which is approximately 5 months after
Chrome 66âs corresponding dates.
By these dates, affected site operators will need to have fully replaced
any TLS server certificates issued from Symantecâs old infrastructure,
using any trusted CA including the new Managed Partner Infrastructure.
Failure to migrate a site to one of these two options will result in
breakage when Chrome 70 is released.
In order to distill Chromeâs final plan into an actionable set of
information for site operators, weâve drawn up a timeline of relevant dates
associated with this plan. As always, Chrome release dates can vary by a
number of days, but upcoming release dates can be tracked here
July 27, 2017
~March 15, 2018
Site Operators using Symantec-issued TLS server certificates issued before
June 1, 2016 should replace these certificates. These certificates can be
replaced by any currently trusted CA, including Symantec.
~October 24, 2017
Chrome 62 released to Stable, which will add alerting in DevTools when
evaluating certificates that will be affected by the Chrome 66 distrust.
December 1, 2017
According to Symantec, the new Managed Partner Infrastructure will at this
point be capable of full issuance. Any certificates issued by Symantecâs
old infrastructure after this point will cease working in a future Chrome
From this date forward, Site Operators can obtain TLS server certificates
from the new Managed Partner Infrastructure that will continue to be
trusted after Chrome 70 (~October 23, 2018).
December 1, 2017 does not mandate any certificate changes, but represents
an opportunity for site operators to obtain TLS server certificates that
will not be affected by Chrome 70âs distrust of the old infrastructure.
~March 15, 2018
Chrome 66 released to beta, which will remove trust in Symantec-issued
certificates with a not-before date before June 1, 2016. As of this date,
in order to ensure continuity of operations, Site Operators must be using
either a Symantec-issued TLS server certificate issued on or after June 1,
2016 or a currently valid certificate issued from any other trusted CA as
of Chrome 66.
Site Operators that obtained a certificate from Symantecâs old
infrastructure after June 1, 2016 are unaffected by Chrome 66 but will need
to obtain a new certificate by the Chrome 70 dates described below.
~April 17, 2018
Chrome 66 released to Stable.
~September 13, 2018
Chrome 70 released to Beta, which will remove trust in the old
Symantec-rooted Infrastructure. This will not affect any certificate
chaining to the new Managed Partner Infrastructure, which Symantec has said
will be operational by December 1, 2017.
Only TLS server certificates issued by Symantecâs old infrastructure will
be affected by this distrust regardless of issuance date.
~October 23, 2018
Chrome 70 released to Stable.
As mentioned at the start of this discussion, the Google Chrome team
decided to use the Blink Process
<http://www.chromium.org/blink#new-features> in discussing this change,
as a way to gather feedback from site operators, the Chromium community,
other browsers, and the broader ecosystem about how to balance the
interoperability risk and compatibility risk. A goal of this process is to
balance risk by aligning on interoperable solutions, minimize ambiguity,
and provide transparency into the decision making process. This process was
designed around balancing changes to the Web Platform APIs, and we
recognize there are further opportunities to improve this for Certificate
Authority decisions. As those improvements are not yet in place, we will be
forgoing the Blink API owner LGTM process for approval, and treating this
more as a product-level decision instead.
Thanks to everyone who put in so much time and energy to arrive at this
I wanted to give folks an update about the current state of this Intent.
Given all of the feedback we've received from the community, right now we
are continuing to evaluate different options and are improving our
understanding of the impact these proposals would have on the ecosystem. We
understand the desire to reach closure here, but also want to make sure
that we take the appropriate amount of time to ensure that we come up with
the best possible proposal. If you have additional feedback that could help
inform our decision, we welcome hearing it.
Note: Historically, the Google Chrome team has not used the Blink Process
<http://www.chromium.org/blink#new-features> for Certificate
Authority-related security issues, of which there have been a number over
the years. However, we are interested in exploring using this process for
such changes, as it provides a greater degree of transparency and public
participation. Based on the level of participation and feedback we receive,
we may consider using this for the future. However, as CA-related security
incidents may require immediate response to protect users, this should not
be seen as a guarantee that this process can be used in future incident
Since January 19, the Google Chrome team has been investigating a series
of failures by Symantec Corporation to properly validate certificates. Over
the course of this investigation, the explanations provided by Symantec
have revealed a continually increasing scope of misissuance with each set
of questions from members of the Google Chrome team; an initial set of
reportedly 127 certificates has expanded to include at least 30,000
certificates, issued over a period spanning several years. This is also
coupled with a series of failures following the previous set of misissued
certificates from Symantec
causing us to no longer have confidence in the certificate issuance
policies and practices of Symantec over the past several years. To restore
A reduction in the accepted validity period of newly issued
Symantec-issued certificates to nine months or less, in order to minimize
any impact to Google Chrome users from any further misissuances that may
An incremental distrust, spanning a series of Google Chrome releases,
of all currently-trusted Symantec-issued certificates, requiring they be
revalidated and replaced.
Removal of recognition of the Extended Validation status of Symantec
issued certificates, until such a time as the community can be assured in
the policies and practices of Symantec, but no sooner than one year.
As captured in Chromeâs Root Certificate Policy
certificate authorities are expected to perform a number of critical
functions commensurate with the trust granted to them. This includes
properly ensuring that domain control validation is performed for server
certificates, to audit logs frequently for evidence of unauthorized
issuance, and to protect their infrastructure in order to minimize the
ability for the issuance of fraudulent certs.
On the basis of the details publicly provided by Symantec, we do not
believe that they have properly upheld these principles, and as such, have
created significant risk for Google Chrome users. Symantec allowed at least
four parties access to their infrastructure in a way to cause certificate
issuance, did not sufficiently oversee these capabilities as required and
expected, and when presented with evidence of these organizationsâ failure
to abide to the appropriate standard of care, failed to disclose such
information in a timely manner or to identify the significance of the
issues reported to them.
These issues, and the corresponding failure of appropriate oversight,
spanned a period of several years, and were trivially identifiable from the
information publicly available or that Symantec shared.
The full disclosure of these issues has taken more than a month. Symantec
has failed to provide timely updates to the community regarding these
issues. Despite having knowledge of these issues, Symantec has repeatedly
failed to proactively disclose them. Further, even after issues have
become public, Symantec failed to provide the information that the
community required to assess the significance of these issues until they
had been specifically questioned. The proposed remediation steps offered by
Symantec have involved relying on known-problematic information or using
practices insufficient to provide the level of assurance required under the
Baseline Requirements and expected by the Chrome Root CA Policy.
In January 2015, Symantec-issued certificates represented more than 30% of
the valid certificates by volume. While changes in the CA ecosystem have
seen that share decrease over the past two years, there is still a
significant compatibility risk for an immediate and complete distrust.
Further, due to overall TLS ecosystem concerns, we understand that it may
take non-trivial effort for some site operators to find suitable solutions,
as the need to support older devices may necessitate the use of particular
CAs, meaning that distrust of new certificates also has significant
To balance the compatibility risks versus the security risks, we propose a
gradual distrust of all existing Symantec-issued certificates, requiring
that they be replaced over time with new, fully revalidated certificates,
compliant with the current Baseline Requirements. This will be accomplished
by gradually decreasing the âmaximum ageâ of Symantec-issued certificates
over a series of releases, distrusting certificates whose validity period
(the difference of notBefore to notAfter) exceeds the specified maximum.
Chrome 59 (Dev, Beta, Stable): 33 months validity (1023 days)
Chrome 60 (Dev, Beta, Stable): 27 months validity (837 days)
Chrome 61 (Dev, Beta, Stable): 21 months validity (651 days)
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