certificate update for old Macs

Bill Cole macportsusers-20171215 at billmail.scconsult.com
Tue Jan 4 22:41:25 UTC 2022

On 2022-01-04 at 14:37:18 UTC-0500 (Tue, 4 Jan 2022 11:37:18 -0800)
Michael <keybounce at gmail.com>
is rumored to have said:

> On 2022-01-03, at 4:12 PM, Richard L. Hamilton <rlhamil at smart.net> 
> wrote:
>> The only problem with that or anything similar, is that unless you go 
>> to quite a lot of work to just download rather than install the PEM 
>> file, and convert it into something human readable WITHOUT installing 
>> it, and investigate every certificate in there, you're trusting that 
>> the site you got it from is not only legit, but is secure and hasn't 
>> been hacked to alter the file to provide some very bogus certificates 
>> that could work together with some sort DNS spoofing to get you to 
>> feed sensitive information (ie bank passwords, etc) via an untrusted 
>> site that would capture it.
> Makes sense. Now, how do you go about turning a certificate into 
> something human readable? Serious question, I have *never* seen this 
> discussed anywhere.

Get the certificate in PEM format, then:

    openssl x509 -text < cert.pem

See the man page ('man x509') for all the very gory details.

> Everyone just says "As long as the roots are good you can trust the 
> chain", and that's never made sense to me. The whole "trust what 
> strangers say" system seems more like "Find a way for companies to 
> make money" than any good security system.

Well, yes: that's what the public CA system is. It is grounded in the 
OSI protocol stack, which is big on hierarchical authority, and no one 
has figured out a better model that scales and allows strangers to 
establish authenticated private data transport. Ultimately it requires 
shared trust anchors of some sort, and the model we've stumbled into has 
the advantage of not being subject to a single authority and encouraging 
the various CAs and bundlers of trust to keep watch on each other.

A mechanism for eliminating the CA-based hierarchical trust layer 
already exists in the DANE (DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities) 
standard that is in broad use for validating email trasnsport. It 
replaces the CA model by binding the trust chain to DNS, making 
certificate trust ultimately dependent on DNSSEC and subject to all of 
its risks.

Bill Cole
bill at scconsult.com or billcole at apache.org
(AKA @grumpybozo and many *@billmail.scconsult.com addresses)
Not Currently Available For Hire

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