When you’re shopping for an SSL Certificate, your primary concerns are usually the price, validation type, issue time, and browser compatibility.
When analyzing the specifications closer, you discover that every SSL product comes with an SSL Certificate warranty. It ranges greatly from certificate to certificate, but what is an SSL warranty for? You’ll find the answer in this article.
Table of Contents
- What Is an SSL Warranty?
- How Does the SSL Certificate Warranty Work?
- Has Anyone Claimed the Warranty for SSL Certs?
- How Important Is an SSL Certificate Warranty?
What Is an SSL Warranty?
An SSL certificate warranty is a guarantee by the Certificate Authority (CA) that issues the SSL certificate. It assures the website owner and visitors that the SSL certificate is genuine and covers any financial losses incurred during a potential certificate breach up to a specified amount.
The SSL warranty provides an added layer of protection and acts as a financial safeguard against losses caused by unauthorized use of the certificate, including fraudulent issuance or data theft.
The warranty amount varies depending on the CA that issued the SSL certificate and the type of SSL certificate purchased. Generally, the warranty amount ranges from a few thousand to a few million dollars. However, it doesn’t cover all types of losses. For example, it may not cover indirect or consequential damages or losses caused by a website’s negligence.
How Does the SSL Certificate Warranty Work?
SSL warranty offers financial compensation to the affected user in case of a certificate breach or failure. If the CA issues the cert to the wrong entity or doesn’t adhere to the security protocols, a hacker may obtain the private key and use it to impersonate the website.
When visitors incur losses from a website that is a scam but has obtained a certificate from a recognized Certificate Authority, they can take many legal actions against both the site and the certificate issuer. Here’s where the SSL warranty can be a bit misleading because the owner of the SSL Certificate can’t claim it. The warranty applies to the end users only. The owner of the certificate is only insured in case of claims, from website visitors.
Let’s say a person buys a product from a secure HTTPS site and this leads to a money loss. In this case, the end-user is entitled to claim warranty compensation. The Certificate Authority will cover the losses according to its terms and conditions.
One thing SSL warranties don’t cover is phishing sites. If you give your credit card details to paypal.com.scam.net, even though that shady domain might be verified by a Certificate Authority, that’s still your negligence. Always check the URL carefully before giving your sensitive data to a website. In this example, the warranty could be used only if a Certificate Authority mistakenly issued an SSL certificate for paypal.com to an entity that is not PayPal.
Has Anyone Claimed the Warranty for SSL Certs?
It all sounds simple and straightforward in theory, but has anyone ever claimed an SSL warranty?
We’ve already crunched the numbers and proved that breaking the SSL encryption requires a herculean task. So, the human factor comes into the equation only during the verification and issuance process. While it’s extremely rare for a Certificate Authority to issue an SSL certificate to a fraudulent entity, such precedent exists. Unfortunately, when it happened, the CA lost all the trust and ability to conduct business and went bankrupt within a month of that scandal.
This sad story is about DigiNotar, a Dutch Certificate Authority that in 2011, issued an SSL certificate for Google.com to someone other than Google, who in turn used it to re-direct the traffic of users in Iran. An investigation conducted by the Dutch Government revealed that 300,000 Iranian Gmail users were victims of man-in-the-middle attacks. In the wake of these events, DigiNotar filed for voluntary bankruptcy and ceased its existence.
How Important Is an SSL Certificate Warranty?
SSL warranty gives users peace of mind in an environment susceptible to cyber attacks. The CAs have set the standards for issuing public SSL certificates so high they’ve included million-dollar warranties to back their flawless issuing process. So, if something goes wrong from their side, the website owners and visitors will receive due compensation. Here are a few reasons why an SSL warranty is important:
- It Protects Against Financial Losses. The SSL warranty protects against financial losses resulting from SSL certificate miss-issuance. For example, if a customer experiences financial loss due to a breach of SSL encryption, the website owner may be held liable. The SSL warranty protects against such situations and may cover the costs of legal fees and damages.
- It Enhances Trust and Credibility. The SSL warranty offers extra assurance to customers that their information is safe and secure when they share it during a purchase or online banking. Large e-commerce platforms and financial institutions use Extended Validation certificates with multi-million dollar warranties for the ultimate level of trust.
- It Meets Regulatory Compliance. Many industries and jurisdictions have regulations that require websites to use certain types of SSL certificates to protect customer data. In some cases, these regulations may also demand a minimum level of warranty. Having an SSL certificate with a warranty can help avoid penalties for non-compliance.
The SSL industry learned some harsh lessons in 2011, but, as a result, it became stronger and better regulated. Today, SSL Certificates follow strict security and issuance protocols that make it almost impossible to breach the encrypted data.
Some armchair experts claim the SSL warranty is just a marketing gimmick. However, no one can predict the evolution of cyber threats and their devastating effect on web security. In the unlikely event of data theft, the only thing to save you money will be the SSL Certificate warranty.
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