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Security Advisories Relating to Symantec Products - Symantec DV Certificate Issuance System Improperly Handled Domain Email Address Special Characters


February 4, 2016




CVSS2 Base Score



CVSS2 Vector

Symantec DV Certificate Issuance System Improperly Handled Domain Email Address Special Characters - Medium






Symantec domain-validated (DV) SSL/TLS certificate issuance system, e.g. RapidSSL, QuickSSL, did not properly handle special characters in an email address when verifying a domain owner through email addresses found in WHOIS records. This could have potentially resulted in the issuance of a DV certificate for possible fraudulent use.

Affected Products




Symantec Domain-Validation Certificates


Addressed in Current Service Offering


DV certificates require the lowest level of authentication to validate a SSL/TLS certificate order. Certificate Authorities (CAs) issue DV certificates through a Whois record lookup and an approval email is subsequently sent to the registrant email address found in that record.

Symantec DV SSL/TLS certificate issuance system did not properly handle special characters that are allowed, but are not commonly used, in email addresses found in whois records. This could have potentially allowed an individual to use an otherwise legitimate domain name to fraudulently obtain a valid DV SSL/TLS certificate. Such a valid DV certificate could have potentially been used to provide authentication to an otherwise malicious phishing site for example.

Symantec Response
Symantec engineers verified this issue and resolved it in the Symantec DV SSL/TLS certificate issuance system. No customer upgrade is required. Existing customer SSL/TLS certificates have been re-validated. Symantec is not aware of exploitation of or adverse impact from this finding.

Symantec would like to thank Andrew Ayer of SSLMate, https://www.agwa.name/, for reporting this issue and coordinating with us as we worked through it.


BID: Security Focus, http://www.securityfocus.com, has assigned a Bugtraq ID (BID) to this issue for inclusion in the Security Focus vulnerability database.

CVE: The issue is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardizes names for security problems.





BID 80378

Symantec DV Certificate Issuance System Improperly Handled Domain Email Address Special Characters


Symantec takes the security and proper functionality of our products very seriously. As founding members of the Organization for Internet Safety (OISafety), Symantec supports and follows responsible disclosure guidelines.
Symantec has developed a Software Security Vulnerability Management Process document outlining the process we follow in addressing suspected vulnerabilities in our products.
Symantec Corporation firmly believes in a proactive approach to secure software development and implements security review into various stages of the software development process. Additionally, Symantec is committed to the security of its products and services as well as to its customers’ data. Symantec is committed to continually improving its software security process.
This document provides an overview of the current Secure Development Lifecycle (SDLC) practice applicable to Symantec’s product and service teams as well as other software security related activities and policies used by such teams. This document is intended as a summary and does not represent a comprehensive list of security testing and practices conducted by Symantec in the software development process.
Please contact secure@symantec.com if you believe you have discovered a security issue in a Symantec product. A member of the Symantec Software Security team will contact you regarding your submission to coordinate any required response. Symantec strongly recommends using encrypted email for reporting vulnerability information to secure@symantec.com.
The Symantec Software Security PGP key can be found at the following location:
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by Symantec Software Security. Reprinting the whole or part of this alert in any medium other than electronically requires permission from secure@symantec.com.
Last modified on: February 4, 2016
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