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Digital Certificates and Signatures: Microsoft Corporation                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Product Ref: 02/139C Company: Microsoft Corporation

Product Type: Case Industry: Software & Services

Related Product(s): Teaching Note
Authors: Ali Farhoomand   Mary Ho
On 22 March, 2001, the Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft") warned computer users that an individual posing electronically as a company representative had fooled VeriSign Inc., the leading digital certificate authority, into issuing two fraudulent digital certificates in Microsoft's name. The certificates could be used by malicious attackers to trick computer users into running unsafe software programmes. Despite the discovery of the fraud and the follow-up investigation by the FBI, the person who registered the certificates could not be found. The Microsoft case was the world's first reported case of digital certificate fraud. It raised serious questions about the sophistication of digital certificates and signatures, and the rules governing the conduct of issuers and users in the electronic marketplace. The accident also revealed that a simple identity certificate/signature comes with complex and non-standard policies and procedures that are vulnerable to regulatory and security flaws.
Functional Area : Economics & Business Policy
Management of Information Systems

Issues: Electronic Commerce; Legislation; Liability; Security Issues
Length: 3 pages Country: United States of America

Pub. Year: 2002 Level of Difficulty: 1
This product type is available in the following language(s):      English   Simplified Chinese
Related Information: N/A
This case is UGC funded.
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