Author Archives: Etienne Ruedin2

Support reinforced

The free certificate authority CAcert is increasing its support. In the past few days, the Board of Directors approved the appointment of Aleš to the post of Support Engineer. He has been working in the CAcert community for many years.

In addition to important knowledge from his professional work, he has developed a lot of CAcert specifics through translation work in the Wiki. Aleš has been working in support for some time, so far in triage. We are very grateful that such a connoisseur of the subject has agreed to take on this responsible post in his spare time and wish him much success and fulfilment in his voluntary work for the CAcert community. CAcert offers interested volunteers a variety of tasks, the opportunity to gain exciting experience and stimulating career opportunities.

Engineers nominated

The free certificate authority CAcert is making progress in increasing the number of its working groups. In the past few days, the committee approved the appointment of Jan to the post of Critical Engineer.

The appointment of Michaela as Access Engineer was also approved. Both have a broad range of experience and are distinguished by their specialist knowledge and sense of responsibility. We wish both engineers much success and fulfilment in their voluntary work for the CAcert community. These are challenging tasks and come with great responsibility. CAcert offers interested volunteers a variety of tasks, the opportunity to gain exciting experience and stimulating career opportunities.

New Background check etablished

English – Français – Deutsch

English Our efforts, most recently under Ted’s leadership, to re-establish a functioning background assessment system (formerly called ABC) for incoming volunteers were successful. This was essential for us to be able to staff our teams again.

In May-June 2020, after recognising the inability of the last remaining arbitrators to re-establish the arbitration function anywhere near what it was until 2016, and after consultation with the arbitrators, we established a new background check process, which we entrusted to members of the association who had undergone this ABC check themselves in the past. The first entrusted members to interview newcomers were Bernhard F and Dirk A.

As a result of this work, new background checks were carried out for the first time in more than seven years in the past weeks. Three candidates for positions with wide ranging system access were interviewed by the two examiners in a suitable interview setting to assess with them whether they might be open to external manipulation or even blackmail once appointed to positions with wide ranging access to the machines. Each of the applicants presented a report of their interview to the committee and the committee members were asked to vote on whether they should accept appointment to the positions of responsibility under consideration.

Français Nos efforts pour rétablir un système fonctionnel d’évaluation des antécédents (anciennement appelé ABC) pour les nouveaux volontaires ont été couronnés de succès. C’était indispensable pour que nous puissions reconstituer nos équipes. Après avoir reconnu l’incapacité des derniers arbitres restants à rétablir la fonction d’arbitrage à un niveau proche de ce qu’elle était jusqu’en 2016, nous avons établi un nouveau processus de vérification des antécédents (ABC) que nous avons confié à des membres de l’Association qui s’étaient eux-mêmes soumis à cet examen ABC dans le passé.

Grâce à ce travail, des vérifications des antécédents ont été effectuées pour la première fois en plus de sept ans au cours des dernières semaines. Trois candidats ont été interrogés dans un cadre d’entretien approprié afin d’évaluer avec eux s’ils pouvaient être ouverts à la manipulation externe ou même au chantage une fois nommés à des postes ayant un accès étendu aux machines. Les membres du comité ont été invités à voter pour accepter ou non la nomination aux postes de responsabilité envisagés après avoir vu les résultats.

Deutsch Unsere Bemühungen wieder eine funktionierende Hintergrundprüfung (früher ABC genannt) für neu hinzukommende Freiwillige einzuführen, waren erfolgreich. Dies war unerlässlich, damit wir unsere Arbeitsgruppen wieder besetzen können.

Nachdem wir die Unmöglichkeit erkannt hatten, die Schiedsfunktion wieder annähernd so zu etablieren, wie sie bis 2016 war, haben wir nach Rücksprache mit den Arbitratoren eine neue Hintergrundprüfung eingerichtet, mit der wir Mitglieder des Vereins betraut haben, die sich in der Vergangenheit bereits selbst dieser ABC-Überprüfung unterzogen hatten.

Deshalb wurden in den vergangenen Wochen nach mehr als sieben Jahren erstmals wieder Hintergrundprüfungen durchgeführt. Drei Kandidaten für Posten mit weitreichendem Systemzugang wurden von den beiden Prüfern in einem geeigneten Gesprächsrahmen befragt, um mit ihnen abzuschätzen, ob sie nach ihrer Ernennung in Positionen mit weitreichendem Zugang zu den Maschinen für externe Manipulationen oder gar Erpressungen offen sein könnten. Der Vorstand wurde daraufhin gebeten, nach Lektüre des Prüfberichtes, darüber zu beraten, ob er der Ernennung des Bewerbers für die in Frage kommende Verantwortungsposition annehmen kann.

OCSP is working well with Mozilla Firefox again

Rapperswil

There was a issue with ocsp.cacert.org on Mozilla Firefox browsers. We published a work around last year. In between a volunteer detected, that a script on ocsp.cacert.org was not running as expected. Therefore the CRL expired for OCSP-Daemon, hence giving the OLD_RESPONSE-error. We restarted the script allready in 2020 and changed our internal monitoring.

The OCSP responder has been restored to a proper working state and is monitored properly now. As it worked now for more than 3 months properly, the work around is no more needed.

Your Easter egg for CAcert?

We feel the spring. The flowers are blooming in the garden. The children are looking forward to Easter, some of us can hardly wait to finally head the chocolate bunny… Excess spring energy can be well redirected to CAcert:

  • software review (there are still two or three small tasks to do, so that new chicks can hatch from the eggs).
  • programming (well suited for old hands)
  • organize Assurer trainings (possible in every easter nest or village)

When will you hop into the nest with us?

An E-ID for the heart of Europe?

The so-called E-ID is a state-controlled but privately operated central login with proof of identity for communication with private and state agencies. Should it be state-controlled or private or a mixed form? The new law provides for a mixed form, but the referendum campaign shows that the matter is highly controversial.

Apparently, the law was drafted by the administration during years without consulting experts. Because now experts have called in an open letter to reject the law for technical reasons such as more data economy, decentralised architecture and transparent processes.

The national vote will take place in Switzerland on 7 March 2021.

CAP-Formulare vernichten

Das Standard-CAP-Formular enthält eine Klausel, dass Sie die Formulare nach der siebenjährigen Aufbewahrungsfrist vernichten dürfen. Dies wird üblicherweise so interpretiert, dass Sie sie in einer “angemessenen Zeit” (ein Jahr als Faustregel) nach Ablauf der Aufbewahrungsfrist vernichten müssen, “es sei denn, ein Schiedsrichter ordnet etwas anderes an”.

Obwohl es dazu keine offiziellen Richtlinien gibt, zeigen einige Schiedsgerichtsurteile, insbesondere a20090328.1 und das Folgeurteil a20090618.3 ganz klar in diese Richtung. (Quelle: Assurance-Handbuch)

Destroying the CAP form

The standard CAP form contains a clause that you may destroy the forms after the seven year period of safekeeping. This is usually interpreted that you must destroy them in a “reasonable time” (one year as a rule of thumb) after the safekeeping period has expired “unless ordered otherwise by an Arbitrator”.

Though there are no official policies about this, some Arbitration rulings, especially a20090328.1 and the follow up a20090618.3, point in this direction. (source: Assurance Handbook)

New Class 3 certificate expected for May

Question of a member of the community: The Class3 certificate is set to expire this year in May. What do I need to do with:
a) My existing certificates that were signed against the Class 3
b) Installation of the new Class3 and when will that happen?

Answer from our volunteer critical system administrator: Thank you for this question. We started the resigning procedure already last year. We plan to use the same private key for the new class-3-certificate, so the old certificates will remain valid.

As the resigning needs to be done in the data centre in the Netherlands, this is planned for February/March – depending on the pandemic situation. So there will be enough time to replace the Class-3-Root in your configuration (Certificate-Chain) or your Browsers.

Deutsch: Die Planung, um das Class-3-Zertifikat neu zu signieren wurden bereits im letzten Jahr aufgenommen. Der Zeitplan ist grosszügig, dass die Arbeiten unserer Freiwilligen vor Mai abgeschlossen sein werden.

Français: Le projet de re-signer le certificat de la classe 3 a été lancé l’année dernière. Le calendrier est généreux, le travail de nos volontaires sera terminé avant le mois de mai.

Español: La planificación para volver a firmar el certificado de la clase 3 comenzó el año pasado. El programa es generoso, el trabajo de nuestros voluntarios se completará antes de mayo.

Português: O planejamento para assinar novamente o certificado de Classe 3 começou no ano passado. O cronograma é generoso, pois o trabalho de nossos voluntários será concluído antes de maio.

Your goals for a better year – with CAcert!

Sorry, fireworks are forbidden this year, enjoy the stars…

In a few hours, a new year will begin. 2020 was difficult for many of us, some things in the community were only possible with difficulty or not at all. Fortunately, at CAcert the distances are usually large enough and even an assurance with a face mask is harmless to health.

To make the new year a better year in all respects, it is important that we put our goals in writing. The easiest way to do this is with this sheet: print it out, fill it in, hang it up in a clearly visible place. It is better to have small goals that are achievable or just one goal. If this goal is soon reached, you can set a new goal on the line below. Good luck!