Tag Archives: Certificates

Certificate renewing is pending (update & help)

Some of our community members (users) get a problem while they try to renew an existing certificate. The issue is: Certificate renewal is pending for days/weeks.

First of all, CAcert is not a service provider or a company, but a community. We are all in the same boat. We can only achieve our goals together, with your the cooperation of all of us (of all users=members).

One of our volunteer support engineers, a retired gentleman somewhere in Bohemia, wrote, after he watererd the flowers in the garden:
1. Many users use CAcert without any assurance. Until now, their CSRs were signed by Class 1 Root (–> serial # 1xxxxx) and their CSRs/renewals are stuck in a queue now.
2. These users know absolutely nothing about existence Class 1 & Class 3 Roots, as they don’t remember installing root(s), and when creating a new cert, they cannot see the choice Class 1/3, because with <50 assurance points (trust points) it isn’t displayed.
3. Many users do not know about the existence of Wiki, bugs, blog, CATS… websites. Our education possibly fails in this direction.

And from Alsace, a baker who is also CAcert volunteer writes after putting the children to bed: There is a lot of information and many tutorials are at the FAQ at https://wiki.cacert.org How to create a certificate can be found at: https://wiki.cacert.org/HowTo/ClientCertCreate/

Another help message was sent by a CAcert volunteer who works as a bus driver from his mobile phone during the short break at the terminus: To get assurance points, the easyest way is to meet with two (or three) experienced assurers who can then credit you with the assurance (trust) points you need (you need 50 and get 10-35 per assurer). When you are on cacert.org in your account, go to the Web Of Trust: https://www.cacert.org/wot.php?id=12 (here you can enter your town and search for assurers in the area) or: https://www.cacert.org/wot.php?id=1 (here you can click through to choose from about 6000 assurers worldwide).

Thank you very much to all our active community members who helps here and there and gives other community members a hand. Even very little help is helpfull. If e.g. each of the 6000 assurers from the assurer directory helps with something small for 10 minutes per month, that is already 1000 hours of work. That would solve (almost) all problems. Here is how you too can give your CAcert community a hand: https://wiki.cacert.org/engagement

And another volunteer from Sweden points out, that the issue will not go away till the interface is fixed, which is a work that has been started, but not finished. Furthermore, renewing old incorrectly signed certificates will never work again, as we have said we will not fix the broken code for that, as no certificates should ever have been signed that way. We can’t continue signing them incorrectly.

Updated: Information about Heartbleed-bug in OpenSSL 1.0.1 up to 1.0.1f

German version below

There is news about a bug in OpenSSL that may allow an attacker to leak arbitrary information from any process using OpenSSL.

Good news:

Certificates issued by CAcert are not broken and our central systems did not leak your keys.

Bad news:

Even then you may be affected.
Although your keys were not leaked by CAcert your keys on your own infrastructure systems might have been compromised if you were or are running a vulnerable version of OpenSSL.

To elaborate on this:

The central systems of CAcert and our root certificates are not affected by this issue. Regrettably some of our infrastructure systems were affected by the bug. We are working to fix them and already completed work for the most critical ones. If you logged into those systems, within the last two years, (see list below) you might be affected!
But unfortunately given the nature of this bug we have to assume that the certificates of our members may be affected, if they were used in an environment with a publically accessable OpenSSL connection (e.g. Apache webserver, mail server, Jabber-Server, …). The bug has been open in OpenSSL for two years – from December 2011 and was introduced in stable releases starting with OpenSSL 1.0.1.
When an attacker can reach a vulnerable service he can abuse the TLS heartbeat extension to retrieve arbitrary chunks of memory by exploiting a missing bounds check. This can lead to disclosure of your private keys, resident session keys and other key material as well as all volatile memory contents of the server process like passwords, transmitted user data (e.g. web content) as well as other potentially confidential information.
Exploiting this bug does not leave any noticeable traces, thus for any system which is (or has been) running a vulnerable version of OpenSSL you must assume that at least your used server keys are compromised and therefore must be replaced by newly generated ones. Simply renewing existing certificates is not sufficient! – Please generate NEW keys with at least 2048 bit RSA or stronger!
As mentioned above this bug can be used to leak passwords and thus you should consider changing your login credentials to potentially compromised systems as well as any other system where those credentials might have been used as soon as possible.
An (incomplete) list of commonly used software which include or link to OpenSSL can be found at related apps.

What to do?

  • First ensure that you upgrade your system to a fixed OpenSSL version (1.0.1g or above).
  • Only then create new keys for your certificates.
  • Check what services you have used that may have been affected within the last two years.
  • Wait until you think that those environments got fixed.
  • Then (and only then) change your credentials for those services. If you do it too early, i.e. before the sites got fixed, your data may be leaked, again. So be careful when you do this.

What we are doing:

  • We are updating the affected infrastructure systems and and create new certificates for them.
  • We use this opportunity to upgrade to 4096 bit RSA keys signed with SHA-512. The new fingerprints can be found below. ­čśë
  • We will contact all members, who had active server certificates within the last two years.
  • We will keep you updated, here.

Press release



There is a website where one can check if a domain is affected:
http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/ (Use on your own risk)
We checked our systems against it, it looks like most of the systems we classified as affected are not actually affected. But we decided to update them, anyway and provide them with new certificates, as well.

Status of CAcert Infrastructure systems:

Not affected / Nicht betroffen:

  • main website (www.cacert.org)
  • certificate signer (the system doing the actual certificate issuing)
  • email system (inbound and outbound mail servers)


SHA1 Fingerprint=7A:13:19:98:1E:FB:9F:F9:9A:E6:3D:E5:7D:F0:42:E1:BE:56:B9:79

SHA1 Fingerprint=9B:30:44:3D:A8:8C:F5:5E:50:07:68:70:D6:A1:83:44:F9:7D:00:D6

SHA1 Fingerprint=E1:2C:12:7F:66:DF:2E:9D:F6:BC:FB:6F:BC:F1:2E:A0:10:5F:8E:BA

SHA1 Fingerprint=2E:0B:08:6E:F1:48:FB:76:69:D6:6D:51:8F:E9:B3:2C:C3:4B:14:25

SHA1 Fingerprint=9B:8E:0A:68:96:E5:C8:E6:E6:8E:D8:10:31:3F:7C:2C:A8:4E:E1:3F

SHA1 Fingerprint=27:AB:9B:90:51:9B:BA:60:51:B3:84:54:FF:C7:09:94:63:86:68:FA

SHA1 Fingerprint=87:47:41:6D:C1:32:C7:22:00:E5:DA:E5:3C:4B:28:A2:2B:8A:F3:E4

SHA1 Fingerprint=57:F4:0F:38:1E:53:D0:83:DC:D2:40:0A:13:98:B7:06:55:EA:A7:19

SHA1 Fingerprint=82:33:D3:AE:32:56:C5:AD:9E:BF:D1:84:62:56:EA:95:31:7E:64:8C

SHA1 Fingerprint=6A:AE:16:90:A2:1F:CC:1B:B7:93:71:C0:1B:BD:2E:14:68:69:45:EA

SHA1 Fingerprint=D5:00:0A:15:17:04:2F:50:5B:09:3C:DD:B9:0A:57:DD:B3:BE:3D:B4

SHA1 Fingerprint=B7:59:B9:BA:46:64:E2:D4:C8:73:20:50:45:9B:08:5E:2B:DF:D0:1B

SHA1 Fingerprint=87:07:59:30:30:64:27:15:6E:39:C3:66:09:CA:7A:90:7D:2F:32:32

SHA1 Fingerprint=A2:7A:CB:E7:91:0A:ED:7E:63:9F:D1:97:01:96:E9:7B:F0:9E:43:3D


  • Testserver-management-system (you should have not used correct data there)

Deutsche Fassung:
Ein Bug in OpenSSL wurde gefunden, der es einem Angreifer erlaubt beliebige Informationen jedes Prozesses zu erlangen, der OpenSSL nutzt.

Die gute Nachricht:

Die von CAcert ausgestellten Zertifikate sind nicht kaputt und unsere zentralen Systeme waren auch nicht angreifbar und hat keine Schl├╝ssel verraten.

Die schlechte Nachricht:

Dennoch kann jeder betroffen sein!

Um ins Detail zu gehen:

Die zentralen Systeme und die Stammzertifikate von CAcert sind von diesem Problem nicht betroffen. Leider sind einige unserer Infrastruktur-Systeme durch den Fehler betroffen.
Wir arbeiten daran diese zu fixen und haben dies auch schon f├╝r die meisten erledigt. Jeder, der sich auf diese Systeme in den letzten zwei Jahre eingelogt hat kann betroffen sein!
Aufgrund der Art des Fehlers, m├╝ssen wir leider davon ausgehen, dass die Zertifikate unserer Mitglieder betroffen sind, wenn sie sich in eine Umgebung eingelogt haben, die ├╝ber ├Âffentliche OpenSSL-Verbindungen zug├Ąnglich war (z.B. Apache Webserver, Mail Server, Jaber-Server, …). Dieser Fehler war zwei Jahre lang in OpenSSL – seit Dezember 2011 – und kam beginnend mit Version 1.0.1 in die Stabilen Versionen.
Angreifer, die einen verwundbaren Service erreichen, k├Ânnen die TLS-Erweiterung “heartbeat” ausnutzen, um beliebige Abschnitte aus dem Speicher zu erlangen, indem sie eine fehlende Bereichspr├╝fung ausnutzen. Das kann zur Offenlegung von privaten Schl├╝sseln, im Speicher abgelegte Sitzungsschl├╝sseln, sonstige Schl├╝ssel genauso wie jeglicher weiterer Speicherinhalt des Server-Prozesses wie Passw├Ârter oder ├╝bermittelte Benutzerdaten (z.B. Webinhalte) oder andere vertrauliche Informationen f├╝hren.
Die Ausnutzung dieses Fehlers hinterl├Ąsst keine merklichen Spuren. Daher muss f├╝r jedes System, auf dem eine angreifbare Version von OpenSSL l├Ąuft (oder lief), angenommen werden, dass zumindest die verwendeten Server-Zertifikate kompromittiert sind und deswegen durch einen NEU generierte erstetzt werden m├╝ssen. Einfach die alten Zertifikate zu erneuern, reicht nicht aus! – Bitte NEUE Schl├╝ssel mit 2048 Bit RSA oder st├Ąrker generieren!
Wie oben erw├Ąhnt kann dieser Fehler ausgenutzt werden, um Passw├Ârter zu entwenden. Daher sollte jeder ├╝berlegen, alle Zugangsdaten zu m├Âglicherweise betroffenen Systemen und allen Systemen bei denen diese sonst noch verwendet worden sein k├Ânnen, so bald wie m├Âglich auszutauschen.
Eine (unvollst├Ąndige) Liste an weit verbreiteter Software die OpenSSL verwendet kann z.B. unter folgendem Link gefunden werden.

Was ist zu tun?

  • Als erstes m├╝ssen die eigenen Systeme auf eine fehlerbereinigte Version von OpenSSL aktualisiert werden (Version 1.0.1g oder neuer).
  • Danach neue Schl├╝ssel f├╝r die Zertifikate erstellen. Jetzt ist es sicher das zu tun.
  • ├ťberpr├╝fen, welche fremden Dienste in den letzten zwei Jahren besucht worden sind.
  • Warten, bis dort wahrscheinlich der Fehler behoben wurde.
  • Dann (und erst dann) die Logindaten f├╝r diese Dienste erneuern. Vorsicht: Wenn das zu fr├╝h getan wird, also wenn der Dienst noch nicht bereinigt wurde, k├Ânnen die Daten wieder abgegriffen werden.




Es gibt eine Webseite, bei der man seit kurzem checken kann, ob eine Dom├Ąne angreifbar sind:
http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/ (Benutzung auf eigene Gefahr)
Wir haben unsere Systeme dagegen gepr├╝ft und es sieht so aus, als w├Ąren nicht alle, die wir als potentiell angreifbar eingestuft haben tats├Ąchlich angreifbar, aber wir haben uns dennoch daf├╝r entschieden die entsprechenden Systeme aufzur├╝sten und die Zertifikate zu erneuern.

Was wir tun:

  • Wir arbeiten daran, alle Infrastruktur-Systeme auf den neuesten OpenSSL-Stand zu bringen und f├╝r diese neue Zertifikate zu generieren.
  • Wir nutzen diese Gelegenheit, um dabei auf 4096er-Schl├╝ssel, die mit SHA-512 signiert sind aufzur├╝sten. Die neuen Fingerabdr├╝cke k├Ânnen oben gefunden werden. ­čśë
  • Wir werden alle Mitglieder kontaktieren, die in den letzten zwei Jahren aktive Server-Zertifikate benutzt haben.
  • Wir werden neue Informationen an dieser Stelle ver├Âffentlichen.

CAcert cracks record of issuing 1 million certificates

The community-based certificate authority CAcert issues the 1 millionth certificate.

In the time of insecurity protection of data privacy is particularly important. The best data protection starts where no more data than necessary for service delivery is stored. This is a basic principle for the activity of CAcert. In doing so CAcert performs all important services of commercial vendors: server certificates for protecting web and email connections, client certificates for signing and easy and at the same time effective encryption of email, for authentication and for code signing are certificate options CAcert offers for everybody.

This includes the great work of the community. They help CAcert to issue certificates free of charge and to be an extremely successful internationally active certificate authority. Right now CAcert has issued its 1 millionth certificate with helps users all over the world protecting their sensitive data.

Information about an email regarding the certificate renewal through a reseller / Information ├╝ber E-Mails zur Zertifikatserneuerung durch einen Reseller

[German version below]

A German CAcert Community member received an email from a German certificate reseller, in which the reseller offered to do the renewal of the CAcert certificate through his website. Furthermore he offered a discount of 5% of the price.

This email is incorrect as the reseller is not able to renew the certificate nor is he able to grant a discount on the price as CAcert certificates are already free of costs.

CAcert was able to find an agreement with the reseller that he will not send these kind of emails anymore.

If you receive a similar email please inform CAcert via support@cacert.org so that the appropriate steps can be taken.

[Deutsche Version]

Ein CAcert Community Mitglied hat eine E-Mail von einem deutschen Zertifikats-Reseller erhalten, in der dem Member angeboten wurde, das CAcert Zertifikate ├╝ber die Webseite des Reseller zu verl├Ąngern. Des Weiteren will der Reseller 5% Rabatt auf den Preis des Zertifikats gew├Ąhren.

Diese E-Mail ist inhaltlich falsch, da der Reseller weder das Zertifikat verl├Ąngern noch einen Rabatt auf den Preis gew├Ąhren kann, da die CAcert Zertifikate schon kostenfrei sind.

CAcert hat erreicht, das der Reseller sich verpflichtet hat, das Versenden solcher E-Mails in Zukunft zu unterlassen.

Sollten weitere E-Mails dieser Form auftauchen, informiert bitte CAcert ├╝ber support@cacert.org dar├╝ber, so dass die entsprechenden Schritte eingeleitet werden k├Ânnen.