According to the news from BBC many sites around the world (including the very well-known ones) may stop functioning properly today (the 4th of March 2020). This is due to the fact one of the main organisations issuing certificates, called ‘Let’s Encrypt’, made an announcement only yesterday that three million of these should be revoked straight away due to a bug problem.
This is definitely significant news which will affect the trust of the web security organisations, the project (Let’s Encrypt with its backers, including Cisco, Facebook & Google) and how it has been working for the past few years.
Why is it such a big problem?
Any website owner should be notified about a need of an SSL certificate renewal long before it expires so this is going to cause major issues for so many global organisations and sites.
A process of installing an SSL certificate for a site (not depending on its scale) is not a thing which can be undertaken overnight as it cannot be easily made on-the-fly whilst the organisation mentioned by BBC did not fulfil standards of communication in terms of letting people know in advance that their SSL certificate would need renewing and replacing.
Usually, when an SSL certificate expires in a month or two, you are informed about this a few weeks beforehand so you have time to make things work correctly. In the case of Let’s Encrypt, this did not happen. In a notification email to their clients they just said:
"We recently discovered a bug in the Let's Encrypt certificate authority code.
"Unfortunately, this means we need to revoke the certificates that were affected by this bug, which includes one or more of your certificates. To avoid disruption, you'll need to renew and replace your affected certificate(s) by Wednesday, March 4, 2020. We sincerely apologise for the issue."
Should your site be running on SSL (https)?
Apart from the bug and the Let’s Encrypt problem having a certificate for your website should still be a valid point of your online strategy and we advise all our clients to ensure their website has an SSL certificate implemented as we still see cases when running site audits where there is not one installed.
Online security is one of the most crucial ideas on the web these days which has been raised for a number of times throughout recent years. Also, the main browsers (including Google Chrome being the number 1 player on the market) have been highlighting whenever a connection with the server is unsecure. When thinking about this, you should then definitely consider installing this on your website.
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