An end-to-end measurement of certificate revocation in the Web's PKI


Conference Paper

Critical to the security of any public key infrastructure (PKI) is the ability to revoke previously issued certificates. While the overall SSL ecosystem is well-studied, the frequency with which certificates are revoked and the circumstances under which clients (e.g., browsers) check whether certificates are revoked are still not well-understood. In this paper, we take a close look at certificate revocations in the Web's PKI. Using 74 full IPv4 HTTPS scans, we find that a surprisingly large fraction (8%) of the certificates served have been revoked, and that obtaining certificate revocation information can often be expensive in terms of latency and bandwidth for clients. We then study the revocation checking behavior of 30 different combinations of web browsers and operating systems; we find that browsers often do not bother to check whether certificates are revoked (including mobile browsers, which uniformly never check). We also examine the CRLSet infrastructure built into Google Chrome for disseminating revocations; we find that CRLSet only covers 0.35% of all revocations. Overall, our results paint a bleak picture of the ability to effectively revoke certificates today.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liu, Y; Tome, W; Zhang, L; Choffnes, D; Levin, D; Maggs, B; Mislove, A; Schulman, A; Wilson, C

Published Date

  • October 28, 2015

Published In

  • Proceedings of the Acm Sigcomm Internet Measurement Conference, Imc

Volume / Issue

  • 2015-October /

Start / End Page

  • 183 - 196

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781450338486

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1145/2815675.2815685

Citation Source

  • Scopus