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Chrome Kills CA Revocation Checks

From Ars:

“While the benefits of online revocation checking are hard to find, the costs are clear: online revocation checks are slow and compromise privacy,” Langley added. That’s because the checks add a median time of 300 milliseconds and a mean of almost 1 second to page loads, making many websites reluctant to use SSL. Marlinspike and others have also complained that the services allow certificate authorities to compile logs of user IP addresses and the sites they visit over time.

Chrome will instead rely on its automatic update mechanism to maintain a list of certificates that have been revoked for security reasons. Langley called on certificate authorities to provide a list of revoked certificates that Google bots can automatically fetch. The time frame for the Chrome changes to go into effect are “on the order of months,” a Google spokesman said.

The problems with CA revocation checks have been particularly prominent over the past 12 months, given the large number of serious CA breaches. While even the Google fetch mechanism isn’t ideal – really, we need to move to an agile trust framework combined (ideally) with browser pinning that can’t be compromised by corporate admins – it’s better. Still, there’s a long way to go until SSL and the CA system are reformed to the point of being actual ‘trusted’ facets of the Internet.