Knowledgebase

What is Certificate Transparency

Why logging SSL certificates makes the internet safer

Certificate Transparency is a mechanism used to publicly log SSL certificates, this helps website owners and watchdogs detect mis-issuance.

Of all the threats facing the SSL industry, mis-issuance is among the most dangerous. A mis-issuance happens when a Certificate Authority issues an SSL certificate improperly. This could on account of incorrect information in the CSR, the certificate being issued to the wrong person or it could even mean the entire CA is compromised.

Starting March 1, 2018, every SSL certificate that is issued will be logged. This will be done at the CA level and will have absolutely no impact on the website or its users. Typically if a CA fails to log a certificate, Google’s web-crawlers will log it within a few days. But you may still want to double-check before installing the certificate.

The CT logs are fully searchable, you should be able to find your own SSL certificate in it. Overall this is good for the entire SSL ecosystem because, as the name suggests, it provides a great degree of transparency into what the CAs are doing with regard to validation and issuance.

If you would like to learn more about Certificate Transparency, here is an in-depth look.

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