End of the road for DigiNotar as bankruptcy declared

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

DigiNotar gravestoneDigiNotar, the Dutch certificate authority which hackers compromised and used to generate hundreds of bogus web security certificates, has filed for bankruptcy.

The announcement that DigiNotar has filed for voluntary bankruptcy was made today by its US parent company VASCO Data Security International.

And, quite frankly, there aren’t many who will be mourning its loss.

Vasco announcement of DigiNotar bankruptcy filing

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VASCO’s CEO, T. Kendall Hunt, seemed keen to disassociate the parent firm from the security problems seen at its subsidiary:

"We would like to remind our customers and investors that the incident at DigiNotar has no impact on VASCO's core authentication technology. The technological infrastructures of VASCO and DigiNotar remain completely separated, meaning that there is no risk for infection of VASCO's strong authentication business."

Cliff Bown, Vasco’s chief financial officer, said the losses associated with DigiNotar “were expected to be significant.”

It’s unlikely that many people are going to shed many tears over the demise of DigiNotar. The firm lost all trust when when it was discovered that it had known that it had suffered a security breach weeks before coming clean about the problem.

But it does serve as a chilling reminder of just how fatal a hack can be for an organisation, especially if the way your corporation decides to respond to it is woefully insufficient.

The fraudulent certificates were issued in the name of major web properties such as Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google; and even in the name of intelligence agencies such as the Mossad and the CIA).

For more background on the DigiNotar security scandal, make sure to take the time to listen to a recent Sophos podcast which discussed the issue featuring Sophos experts Chester Wisniewski and Mike Wood:

You can also download the podcast directly in MP3 format: Sophos Security Chet Chat 72 or subscribe to our podcast RSS feed.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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