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Secure Programming Cookbook for C and C++ by Matt Messier, John Viega

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10.10. Obtaining Certificate Revocation Lists with OpenSSL

Problem

You have a certificate that you want to verify, as well as the certificate that was used to issue it, but you need to check the issuing authority’s CRL to make sure that the certificate has not been revoked. We cover how to use a CRL once you have it in Recipe 10.5—but how do you get it in the first place?

Solution

All CAs should publish a CRL for each certificate used for issuing certificates, but many do not seem to. In fact, most CAs make it very difficult to find the CRLs they do publish, so it is easy to come to the conclusion that they do not publish a CRL at all. It turns out that some CAs do not publish a CRL, but the most prominent of CAs all do. Unfortunately, the CAs that do make it easy to find their CRLs are in the minority. We have spent a sizable amount of time attempting to track down CRLs for each of the certificates we have listed in Recipe 10.3, as well as numerous others with which we had no success. We have also managed to find many CRLs for which we were unable to find matching issuing certificates, but we have omitted them here. Many of them can be found at http://www.openvalidation.org.

Note that many CAs require acceptance of a licensing agreement before you’re allowed to download their CRLs. You should make sure to check the information that we provide here before you use it, to ensure that you have the legal right to use the data and that the CA has not changed the location of their URLs since ...

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