More Salt in their wounds: DigiCert hit as hackers wriggle through (patched) holes in buggy config tool

Miscreants too busy mining for crypto to notice the gold lying around them?

DigiCert, slinger of SSL/TLS certificates, has warned that it too has suffered at the hands of Salty miscreants as a key used for Signed Certificate Timestamps (SCT) was potentially compromised.

The company joins and LineageOS in being the target of ne’er do wells as attackers exploited a disclosed (and patched) vulnerability in the Salt configuration tool over the weekend, spraying exposed infrastructure with cryptocurrency mining software.

In the case of DigiCert, it appears that attackers could have gained access to a Certificate Transparency (CT) server’s signing key if they were not so concerned with getting the mining software running. However, since the DigiCert team could not prove that keys had not been requested, the prudent decision was taken to assume that nefarious activities had occurred and act accordingly.

Writing in a forum for Certificate Transparency, DigitCert veep of business development, Jeremy Rowley assured users that “all other DigiCert CT logs are uneffected [sic] as they run on separate infrastructure.”

“The attacker,” said Rowley, “doesn’t seem to realize that they gained access to the keys and were running other services on the [infrastructure].”

He added that “Digicert’s CT logs are operated in a separate environment than CA operations. In fact, unique CT logs are operated [separately] from other CT logs so the event really is limited to CT2.”

Still not great though, eh?

For its part, SaltStack SVP Alex Peay was keen to remind users that: “We must reinforce how critical it is that all Salt users patch their systems and follow the guidance we have provided outlining steps for remediation and best practices for Salt environment security.”

The company added: “Clients who have followed fundamental internet security guidelines and best practices are not affected by this vulnerability.”


DigiCert told us it was deactivating the Certificate Transparency (CT) 2 log server “after determining that the key used to sign SCTs may have been exposed via critical SALT vulnerabilities.”

“We do not believe the key was used to sign SCTs outside of the CT log’s normal operation, though as a precaution, CAs that received SCTs from the CT2 log after May 2 at 5 p.m. U.S. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) should receive an SCT from another trusted log.”

Three other DigiCert CT logs – CT1, Yeti and Nessie – run on different infrastructures and were not affected, the company said.

“DigiCert has been planning for some time to shut down CT2, in order to move the industry toward our newer and more robust CT logs, Yeti and Nessie. We notified the industry of our intention to terminate signing operations of CT2 on May 1 but pushed back the date based on industry feedback. This timeline has now been moved up, with the CT2 log in read-only mode effective May 3,” the company added. ®

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