Bulletproof TLS Newsletter #34
Comodo gets controversial new owner
30 November 2017
Author: Hanno Böck

This issue was distributed to 41,585 email subscribers.

Bulletproof TLS Newsletter is a free periodic newsletter bringing you commentary and news surrounding SSL/TLS and Internet PKI, designed to keep you informed about the latest developments in this space.

In this issue:

  1. Comodo gets controversial new owner
  2. Short news

Comodo gets controversial new owner

Not long ago, Symantec—one of the largest certificate authorities (CAs)—sold its certificate business to competitor DigiCert. Now, another large certificate authority has been sold. Comodo’s certificate business is now owned by Francisco Partners.

This news is an indication that the CA industry is facing changes. The success of the free Let’s Encrypt CA raises questions about the fact that new business models and stricter security requirements set by browsers have reduced a once-major player like Symantec.

These changes are also reason for concern. In light of the Symantec changes, Mozilla issued a statement about trust issues at play when CAs change owners and merge.

Comodo’s new owner may raise an entirely different concern: Francisco Partners also owns 70 percent of NSO Group, which developed the government spyware Pegasus. This spyware made headlines in 2016 when Citizen Lab revealed that it was used with several zero-day vulnerabilities in iOS to attack Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates.

Recently, Francisco Partners tried to sell its shares of NSO Group.

Short news