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             AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution

         Deprecation of SHA-1 Hashing Algorithm for Microsoft Root
                            Certificate Program
                              13 January 2016


        AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary

Product:           Microsoft Windows
Publisher:         Microsoft
Operating System:  Windows
Impact/Access:     Reduced Security -- Remote with User Interaction
Resolution:        Patch/Upgrade

Original Bulletin: 

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Microsoft Security Advisory 3123479

Deprecation of SHA-1 Hashing Algorithm for Microsoft Root Certificate Program

Published: January 12, 2016

Version: 1.0

Executive Summary

Microsoft has released a SHA-1 code sign deprecation change effective January
1, 2016, focused on client activity that can only occur when a customer 
downloads files from the Internet. This change is specific to a new default 
setting for Windows and customers can override or augment the default settings
in their environment.

For customers running either Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge who download
a SHA-1 signed file from the Internet that is timestamped and released on 
January 1, 2016, or later, SmartScreen will mark the file as not trusted. This
status does not prevent customers from downloading the file or running these 
browsers on their computers. But customers are warned of the not trusted 
status of the file.

This change only affects Mark-of-the-Web (MOTW) files downloaded from the 
Internet. Files timestamped before January 1, 2016, will continue to be 
trusted. Drivers with signatures verified by Code Integrity are not affected 
by this change. To conform to the latest requirements for driver signing, see
the Windows Hardware Certification blog.

Advisory Details

Issue References

For more information about this issue, see the following references:

General Information

Windows Enforcement of Authenticode Code Signing and Timestamping

Technical Requirements

Protecting Against Weak Cryptographic Algorithms

Affected Software

This advisory applies to the following operating systems:

Windows 7

Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 1

Windows 7 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1

Windows Server 2008 R2

Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1

Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 1

Windows 8

Windows 8 for 32-bit Systems

Windows 8 for x64-based Systems

Windows Server 2012

Windows Server 2012

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 for 32-bit Systems

Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows 10

Windows 10 for 32-bit Systems[1]

Windows 10 for x64-based Systems[1]

Windows 10 Version 1511 for 32-bit Systems[1]

Windows 10 Version 1511 for x64-based Systems[1]

Server Core installation option

Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems (Server Core installation)

Windows Server 2012 (Server Core installation)

Windows Server 2012 R2 (Server Core installation)

[1]The Windows 10 update is cumulative. In addition to containing non-security
updates, it also contains all of the security fixes for all of the Windows 
10-affected vulnerabilities shipping with given months security release. The 
update is available via the Windows Update Catalog. See Microsoft Knowledge 
Base Article 3097617 for more information and download links.

Advisory FAQ

What is the scope of the advisory?

This advisory aims to assist customers in assessing the risk of certain 
applications that use X.509 digital certificates that are signed using the 
SHA-1 hashing algorithm and to recommend that administrators and certificate 
authorities begin using SHA-2 in place of SHA-1 as an algorithm for signing 
digital certificates.

Is this a security vulnerability that requires Microsoft to issue a security 

No. A signing mechanism alternative to SHA-1 has been available for some time,
and the use of SHA-1 as a hashing algorithm for signing purposes has been 
discouraged and is no longer a best practice. Microsoft will however evaluate
any opportunities to strengthen technologies to detect fraudulent 
certificates. Although this is not a vulnerability in a Microsoft product, 
Microsoft is issuing this advisory to help clarify the actual risk involved to

What causes this threat?

The root cause of the problem is a known weakness of the SHA-1 hashing 
algorithm that exposes it to collision attacks. Such attacks could allow an 
attacker to generate additional certificates that have the same digital 
signature as an original. These issues are well understood and the use of 
SHA-1 certificates for specific purposes that require resistance against these
attacks has been discouraged. At Microsoft, the Security Development Lifecycle
has required Microsoft to no longer use the SHA-1 hashing algorithm as a 
default in Microsoft software. For more information about SHA-1 collision 
weakness, see The SHAppening: freestart collisions for SHA-1.

What is a digital certificate?

In public key cryptography, one of the keys, known as the private key, must be
kept secret. The other key, known as the public key, is intended to be shared
with the world. However, there must be a way for the owner of the key to tell
the world who the key belongs to. Digital certificates provide a way to do 
this. A digital certificate is an electronic credential used to certify the 
online identities of individuals, organizations, and computers. Digital 
certificates contain a public key packaged together with information about it
- - who owns it, what it can be used for, when it expires, and so forth. For 
more information, see Understanding Public Key Cryptography and Digital 

What is the purpose of a digital certificate?

Digital certificates are used primarily to verify the identity of a person or
device, authenticate a service, or encrypt files. Normally, there is no need 
to think about certificates at all, aside from the occasional message stating
that a certificate is expired or invalid. In such cases, one should follow the
instructions provided in the message.

What is a certification authority (CA)?

Certification authorities are the organizations that issue certificates. They
establish and verify the authenticity of public keys that belong to people or
other certification authorities, and they verify the identity of a person or 
organization that asks for a certificate.

Suggested Actions

Review Microsoft Root Certificate Program Policy Changes

Customers who are interested in learning more about the topic covered in this
advisory should review Windows Enforcement of Authenticode Code Signing and 

Update from SHA-1 to SHA-2

Certificate authorities should no longer sign newly generated certificates 
using the SHA-1 hashing algorithm. Customers should ensure that their 
certificate authorities are using the SHA-2 hashing algorithm to obtain SHA-2
certificates from their certificate authorities. To sign code with SHA-2 
certificates, see the guidance on this topic at Windows Enforcement of 
Authenticode Code Signing and Timestamping.

Impact of action: Older hardware-based solutions may require upgrading to 
support these newer technologies.

Keep Windows Updated

All Windows users should apply the latest Microsoft security updates to help 
make sure that their computers are as protected as possible. If you are not 
sure whether your software is up to date, visit Windows Update, scan your 
computer for available updates, and install any high-priority updates that are
offered to you. If you have Automatic Updates enabled, the updates are 
delivered to you when they are released, but you have to make sure you install

Other Information


You can provide feedback by completing the Microsoft Help and Support form, 
Customer Service Contact Us.


Customers in the United States and Canada can receive technical support from 
Security Support. For more information, see Microsoft Help and Support.

International customers can receive support from their local Microsoft 
subsidiaries. For more information, see International Support.

Microsoft TechNet Security provides additional information about security in 
Microsoft products.


The information provided in this advisory is provided "as is" without warranty
of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, 
including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular 
purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable 
for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, 
consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft
Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such 
damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for
consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.


V1.0 (January 12, 2016): Advisory published.

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