Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser, said on Thursday that it would follow Google’s lead and no longer recognise new certificates of trust issued by a Chinese Internet company.
Firefox may problems accessing Chinese websites
Chrome and Firefox are among the world’s most popular browsers, and the moves may in fact disrupt users accessing Chinese websites.
As a result of Mozilla’s action, Firefox users may receive a warning when they attempt to visit websites certified after April 1st (no, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), the organisation that administers China’s Internet by allocating and certifying IP address and domain names.
CNNIC is of course not happy, having issued a statement on Thursday calling the move by Google “unacceptable and unintelligible”, and has asked the firm to consider its users’ interests.
Zhang Jing, a part of CNNIC’s media relations department, could not provide comment about Mozilla’s move on Friday. Mozilla and Google have both objected to CNNIC delegating authority to issue certificates to an Egyptian company known as MCS Holdings.
Internet authorities all over the world issue ‘certificates of trust’ to websites in order to verify their authenticity when anyone visits the site using a web browser. But hackers could impersonate unverified websites and then steal the data using a so-called man-in-the-middle attack.
Both Google and Mozilla say they will allow CNNIC to reapply so that its certificates can be recognised again. Currently, Chrome is the most popular desktop browser in the world, with almost a 50% share, while Internet Explorer has a much smaller 18% and Firefox at 16.9%.