CERT® Advisory CA-2000-19 Revocation of Sun Microsystems Browser Certificates

Original release date: October 25, 2000 13:39:00 EDT
Last revised: October 25, 2000 14:12:23 EDT
Source: Sun Microsystems; CERT/CC

A complete revision history is at the end of this file.

Systems Affected


To aid in the wide distribution of essential security information, the CERT Coordination Center is forwarding the following information from Sun Microsystems. Sun urges you to act on this information as soon as possible. Contact information for the Sun security team can be found in their bulletin, which is referenced in the vendor appendix to this document.

I. Description

The description below is an excerpt from Sun Security Bulletin 198. The original text can be found here.

Sun Microsystems, Inc. Security Bulletin
Bulletin Number: #00198
Date: October 24, 2000
Title: Browser Certificates

  1. Bulletin Topics

    Sun advises of a potential compromise of 2 specific security certificates which had limited distribution.

    Sun recommends that you follow the directions found at http://sunsolve5.sun.com/secbull/certificate_howto.html to determine if your web browser has accepted any of the potentially compromised certificates.


  2. Who is Affected

    A web browser that has accepted a Sun certificate with one the following serial numbers:

    3181 B12D C422 5DAC A340 CF86 2710 ABE6 (Internet Explorer)
    17:05:FB:13:A2:2F:9A:F3:C1:30:F5:62:6E:12:50:4C (Netscape)


  3. Understanding the Vulnerability

    Web browsers accept security certificates from trusted sources. A specific certificate from Sun may have received outside exposure.

    Systems that encounter this certificate are potentially vulnerable to attack from malicious applets, applications or components.


  4. Corrective Action

    Follow the instructions at http://sunsolve5.sun.com/secbull/certificate_howto.html to determine if your browser has accepted one of the potentially compromised certificates. If your browser contains this particular certificate, follow the instructions to remove it.


Additional information from the CERT/CC

Sun Microsystems has revoked the certificates with the following serial numbers:

3181 B12D C422 5DAC A340 CF86 2710 ABE6
1705 FB13 A22F 9AF3 C130 F562 6E12 504C

You can confirm the revocation of these certificates at https://digitalid.verisign.com/services/server/search.htm.

II. Impact

Users who accept these certificates into their browser may inadvertently run malicious code signed by the compromised certificates. Any such code would appear to be from Sun Microsystems, thus creating a misleading sense of trust.

III. Solution

Remove the Compromised Certificates

Sun Microsystems has provided identification information for the compromised certificates as well as instructions on how to remove them from common browsers. Users should follow Sun's instructions to remove these certificates from their browser and to prevent possible future addition.

Appendix A. Vendor Information

Sun Microsystems

Sun's official copy of their bulletin can be found at:


The CERT Coordination Center thanks Sun Microsystems for bringing this issue to our attention.


Author: The CERT/CC portions of this document were written by Jeffrey P. Lanza. Feedback on this advisory is appreciated.


This document is available from: http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2000-19.html

CERT/CC Contact Information

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Fax: +1 412-268-6989
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Copyright 2000 Carnegie Mellon University.

Revision History

October 25, 2000:  Initial release
October 25, 2000:  Updated author section and references to Sun Security Bulletin 198.