SSL/TLS private keys are sometimes accidentally disclosed, in circumstances including:
- The private key is attached to an unencrypted email
- The private key is uploaded into a support ticket as an unencrypted attachment
- Key is stored on an unencrypted laptop or backup drive which is lost or stolen
- Key is stored on a shared network drive accessible to non-essential users
Any scenario in which the private key is disclosed, illegally accessed, or exposed to illegal access, should be considered an Inadvertent Disclosure; requiring a recovery process.
Resulting risk and potential impact may range from inconsequential, to severe depending on circumstances, and the nature of the key disclosed.
Recovery process should include the following:
- If possible, erase the key from all exposed storage locations.
- Revoke the certificate with the issuing authority (SSL/TLS may stop working until a new certificate is obtained and the revoked certificate is replaced)
- Obtain a new version of the certificate by recreating the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and reprovisioning (many certificate authorities do not charge a fee for this).
- Ensure that the revoked certificate is replaced by the new cert and keys in all relevant locations
- Ensure that the new certificate and keys are stored and transmitted according to secure practises. For sending keys to RedShield, please observe the following notes: