DigiNotar is a Dutch Certificate Authority (CA) that issues SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and EVSSL (Extended Validation) certificates, which help to ensure the websites visited by users when Web browsing are authentic rather than fake websites masquerading as legitimate sites.
In July 2011, DigiNotar was hacked by a certificate bandit, which was able to issue fraudulent certificates through the company for a fake Google web site as well as several dozen other sites.
As a certificate authority, DigiNotar plays a critical role in data security and electronic commerce by providing an independent "trusted third party" guarantee that the website and the person interacting and exchanging information with the website are really who they claim to be. Following DigiNotar's issuance of fraudulent certificates in 2011, Google, Mozilla and Microsoft all revoked the company's authority to vouch for its certificates as a trusted third party, and in September of 2011 the Dutch government announced that it would be switching to a different certification authority.
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