Microsoft Exchange admin portal taken offline due to expired certificate

This isn't the first time an expired SSL/TLS cert has downed a service

Microsoft's Exchange administration portal was offline over the weekend after the company failed to renew an expired SSL/TLS certificate.

Bleeping Computer reported that Exchange administrators were unable to access the site on Sunday morning. They encountered an error page explaining that their connection was not private. At the time, Qualys Labs reported the certificate associated with the site expired at 8 am Eastern Time on Sunday, but Microsoft has since fixed the problem.

Twitter user Tzatl tweeted at the company on Sunday, asking: "Did you guys really forget to renew a certificate?" Microsoft responded that it had isolated the problem and was applying a fix, referring users to entry EX257883 under its service health dashboard.

The issue provoked some teasing from users on Twitter. "Someone done goofed," replied one user, along with a picture of the untrusted certificate report from Digicert Cloud Services.

This isn't the first time a large technology company has downed a service by forgetting to renew a certificate. 

Last month, Epic Games accidentally allowed a certificate used across many of its internal-facing services to expire. That took account logins offline for many of its most popular games, including Fortnite.

Related Resource

Enabling operational resiliency with Veritas

Boost your DX goals with data and infrastructure insights

A cityscape background against the water - Enabling operational resilience with VeritasWatch now

In February, Google Voice went offline temporarily after a certificate went out of date. In November, GitHub's home page went down after a certificate responsible for accessing information from a content distribution network expired. Last August, Spotify let a TLS certificate lapse, leaving users without music.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) has evolved into its successor, Transport Layer Security (TLS). Both are cryptographic protocols that provide secure connections between two endpoints. An SSL/TLS certificate enables a website to prove its identity with a trusted third-party certificate authority (CA).

Certificate management is likely to become more problematic following a change to certificate longevity last September. Apple, Google, and Mozilla all imposed a maximum 398-day lifetime on certificates from September 1, 2020 in a bid to limit the time a site can use a compromised certificate. This continues a trend of shortening certificate lifespans, which stood at 60 months in 2012, 39 months in 2015, and 27 months in 2018. 

In its 2021 State of Machine Identity Management Report, Keyfactor found that 88% of companies had experienced at least one unplanned certificate outage in the prior two years.

Featured Resources

Modern governance: The how-to guide

Equipping organisations with the right tools for business resilience

Free Download

Cloud operational excellence

Everything you need to know about optimising your cloud operations

Watch now

A buyer’s guide to board management software

Improve your board’s performance

The real world business value of Oracle autonomous data warehouse

Lead with a 417% five-year ROI

Download now

Recommended

Microsoft warns of phishing campaign targeting OAuth tokens
phishing

Microsoft warns of phishing campaign targeting OAuth tokens

26 Jan 2022
Fedex teams with Microsoft for cross-platform logistics solution
digital transformation

Fedex teams with Microsoft for cross-platform logistics solution

25 Jan 2022
Microsoft tells IT admins to turn off legacy group policies to improve Windows performance
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft tells IT admins to turn off legacy group policies to improve Windows performance

21 Jan 2022
Microsoft buys game developer Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion
mergers and acquisitions

Microsoft buys game developer Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

18 Jan 2022

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
Sony pulls out of MWC 2022
Business operations

Sony pulls out of MWC 2022

14 Jan 2022
Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better
Laptops

Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better

14 Jan 2022