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USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

15th USENIX Security Symposium Abstract

Pp. 17–28 of the Proceedings

On the Release of CRLs in Public Key Infrastructure

Chengyu Ma, Beijing University; Nan Hu and Yingjiu Li, Singapore Management University


Public key infrastructure provides a promising foundation for verifying the authenticity of communicating parties and transferring trust over the internet. The key issue in public key infrastructure is how to process certificate revocations. Previous research in this aspect has concentrated on the tradeoffs that can be made among different revocation options. No rigorous efforts have been made to understand the probability distribution of certificate revocation requests based on real empirical data.

In this study, we first collect real empirical data from VeriSign and derive the probability function for certificate revocation requests. We then prove that a revocation system will become stable after a period of time. Based on these, we show that different certificate authorities should take different strategies for releasing certificate revocation lists for different types of certificate services. We also provide the exact steps by which certificate authorities can derive optimal releasing strategies.

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Last changed: 20 Sept. 2006 ch