Expired SSL Certificate Vulnerability

Expired SSL Certificate Vulnerability

5 mins

For website owners, the recently expired SSL certificate vulnerability was a rude awakening. It’s a good reminder of how important it is to keep your certificates up to date. But what exactly happened in this case, and why should you care?

The expired SSL certificate vulnerability recently discovered is a serious security flaw that could allow attackers to spy on communications, steal data, and impersonate websites.

The good news is that the vulnerability can be fixed by updating to the latest version of SSL/TLS.

The bad news is that many websites have not yet done this, so it’s important to be careful about which sites you visit and to make sure that the website’s SSL certificate has been updated.


What SSL Certificate and How Does it Help Your Website?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology.

It stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is a protocol for transmitting private information over the internet. SSL certificates are used by millions of websites to protect online transactions with cryptographic key encryption. 

SSL certificates are issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs), which are organizations that verify the identity of a website and issue digital certificates. 

In order to get an SSL certificate, businesses must generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request) and submit it to a CA. The CA then verifies the business’s information and issues the SSL certificate. 

SSL certificates are important because they protect sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, and personal information from being intercepted by hackers.


When installed on a web server, an SSL certificate activates the padlock and the https protocol (over port 443) and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

Users can verify that a website is secure by looking for the padlock icon in their browser’s address bar. 

Businesses need to install an SSL certificate on their website to: 

  1. Protect their customers’ information 
  2. Gain customers’ trust 
  3. Boost search engine ranking 
  4. Increase conversion rates 
  5. Comply with PCI DSS requirements (if they accept credit card payments).

How Often Does SSL Certificate Get Expired?

It’s important to have an SSL certificate and enable HTTPS on your website because it protects sensitive information such as customer names, addresses, passwords, and credit card numbers from being intercepted by attackers. 

Furthermore, SSL is now a ranking factor in Google, so having an SSL certificate can also help improve your SEO.

SSL certificates generally have a lifespan of 2 to 5 years, and they need to be renewed before they expire in order to maintain a strong level of security for your website.

Depending on your Certificate Authority (CA), you may be able to set your certificate to automatically renew. If not, you’ll need to manually renew your certificate every year or every other year.

To find out when your SSL certificate expires, check the “validity” period listed in the details of your certificate; this is usually accessible via your web browser. 

You can also view the expiration date of your certificate via the command line using the OpenSSL utility.

What are Expired SSL Certificate Vulnerabilities?

As you know, SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol that provides security for communication between web browsers and servers. SSL uses encryption to protect data from being accessed by unauthorized parties.

When an SSL certificate expires, the encryption is no longer active, leaving data vulnerable to interception. expired SSL certificates can also be used to mount phishing attacks.

By setting up a fake website with an expired SSL certificate, attackers can trick users into entering sensitive information, such as login credentials or credit card numbers.

Expired SSL certificates can also be used to launch man-in-the-middle attacks. In this type of attack, an attacker intercepts communications between a user and a server and then relays them to the intended recipient. This allows the attacker to eavesdrop on conversations and access sensitive data.

What To Do If Your Website’s SSL Certificate Gets Expired?

It’s important to keep your website’s SSL certificate up-to-date. An expired SSL certificate can cause visitors to see warnings when they try to access your site, which can damage your reputation and deter potential customers. Here are a few things you can do if your website’s SSL certificate expires:

1. First, try renewing the certificate. If it’s still valid, you may be able to renew it without issue.

2. If the certificate is expired, you’ll need to generate a new one. You can do this through your hosting control panel or by contacting your host directly.

3. Once you have a new certificate, you’ll need to install it on your server. This process will vary depending on your server type and hosting provider.

4. After the new certificate is installed, you should test it to make sure everything is working properly. Try accessing your site using https:// and make sure there are no warning messages.

5. If everything looks good, you’re all set! Your website is now secure with a valid SSL certificate.

How To Renew An Expired SSL Certificate?

When an SSL certificate expires, it needs to be renewed in order to continue encrypting traffic. The process of renewing an SSL certificate can vary depending on the Certificate Authority.

There are some general steps that are usually involved:

First, you will need to generate a new CSR (Certificate Signing Request). This can usually be done through your hosting control panel or via the command line.

Secondly, once you have generated the CSR, you will need to submit it to your Certificate Authority. They will use it to generate a new SSL certificate for your domain.

Thirdly, once you have received the new certificate from your CA, you will need to install it on your web server. This process can again vary depending on your server software, but most control panels provide easy-to-use tools for managing SSL certificates.

Finally, once the new certificate is installed, you will need to update any links or resources on your website that use https:// so that they point to the new certificate.

By following these steps, you can easily renew your website’s SSL certificate and ensure that visitors’ data remains safe and encrypted.

Tips To Avoid Any Vulnerability While SSL Certificate Get Expired

Many businesses don’t realize that their SSL certificate will expire until it’s too late. A lapsed SSL certificate can leave your website vulnerable to attack, and can also damage your reputation with customers.

Here are some tips to help you avoid any vulnerability when your SSL certificate expires:

  • Make sure you keep track of when your SSL certificate expires. You can usually find this information in your hosting control panel or in the email confirmation you received when you first purchased the certificate.
  • Set up a reminder system to notify you a few weeks before the expiration date. This will give you time to take action before the certificate expires.
  • When the reminder notices start coming in, start shopping around for a new SSL provider. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy a new certificate, as this could leave your website vulnerable in the meantime.

By following these tips, you can avoid any vulnerability when your SSL certificate expires. Keep track of the expiration date, set up a reminder system, and start shopping for a new provider well in advance of the expiration date. By taking these precautions, you can protect your website and your business.

Wrap Up

The SSL certificate is a digital certificate that verifies the ownership of a website. When you install it on your web server, it activates the https protocol and encrypts all traffic between your site and your visitors.

This helps to keep their data safe and secure while they’re browsing through your pages. An expired SSL certificate can leave your website vulnerable to attacks, so it’s important to make sure you renew it in time.

We hope these tips have helped you better understand expired SSL certificates and how to avoid any vulnerabilities associated with them.


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Michael Fied

founder of and SpamBurner

Michael Fied is the founder and CEO of and SpamBurner. In addition, he’s an internationally top-rated and award-winning website advisor and website architect with a global team of 55. You can find Michael on LinkedIn or contact him directly here.

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