Is Digicert's continued use of the "Distrusted" certificates for code signing still valid?

Bert Eisen bert.eisen.1952 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 25 18:08:02 UTC 2019


Hello,

I’m trying to understand why Digicert are still issuing signing certificates from the distrusted Symantec root CAs and as a consequence if the java code signing is still meaningful?  I know for sure that they are still issing certificates from the distrusted "thawte Primary Root CA - G3" root, because i'm trying to verify the signing certificate that has just been issued to the company that I work for.

The root CA’s were distrusted by Google following the discovery of a number of invalid certificates incorrectly issued by Symantec and their partners[1].  And the subsequent investigation by Google reviled that Symantec’s partners were allowed to issue certificates without appropriate controls or adequate security processed.  It would appear that only certificates used for protecting websites are listed in the Sectigo search engine [https://crt.sh/], thus it is unclear what other types of certificates have been issued.  Ultimately this means that you should not “Trust” any certificate issued from those roots.

According to the Thawte Certification practice statement v3.7.20[2], (as refernced by the G3 root certificate,) it describes the CA as being “inactive”.  In addition the policy document also describes the intermediate code signing certificate “thawte SHA256 Code Signing CA - G2” has having have a daily updates to its CRL, but the URL seems to point to the wrong crl distribution list, which is only being updated every 3 months.

Which brings us onto the java code signing.  In response to the Googles distrust statement, the JDK and the SunJSSE provider has been updated[3] to explicitly reject TLS sessions rooted in the affected CAs, however it stopped short of removing the CA’s completely.  This means that jar files signed by the affected roots are still considered valid and pass all verification checks without warning.

Given that the Trust has been eroded from the affected roots, a third party can no-longer believe with certainty that the signed code hasn’t been tampered with or has originated from the party named in the certificate.  As such I believe that digicert should not be continuing to issue certifcates from those CAs and that java (and other platforms) should deprecate the use of the affected CA’s.  At the very least the the JDK shoud warn of code and other artefacts that have been signed since the distrust date.

Regards
Bert

[1] https://security.googleblog.com/2017/09/chromes-plan-to-distrust-symantec.html
[2] https://www.thawte.com/assets/documents/repository/cps/Thawte_CPS_3_7.20.pdf
[3] https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8207258?subTaskView=all
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