SSL certificates often advertise varying amounts of warranties or guarantees, for example $500,000 or $1m.

My question is, in the history of SSL, has anyone ever actually successfully claimed one of these warranties? Has there ever been a case? If not, is it fair to assume they are just marketing gimmicks?

  • Not exactly on-topic for this site, it might be better at security.stackexchange.com.
    – Cyclops
    Oct 29, 2011 at 11:59
  • @Cyclops I tried in webmasters exchange but they closed it, I don't know where to post this
    – Tom
    Oct 29, 2011 at 12:46
  • I don't think there's a site on the network right now that would field this question: it's just trivia. Definitely off-topic here: nothing to do with software development.
    – user8
    Oct 29, 2011 at 21:11
  • It might be a reasonable fit for skeptics.SE, since they like to debunk stuff and this warranty sounds like a whole lot of "bunk". Jul 4, 2014 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


The warranty is kind of misleading, actually, because it's not issued to the purchaser of the certificate -- it's issued to the users of the site. So say you give your credit card details to a website that's verified by a CA that offers a warranty and the (fraudulent) site takes money from you, then you can use the warranty to claim back the money you lost.

In reality, though, this almost never happens. It's extremely rare (though not entirely unheard of) for a CA to give out a certificate to a fraudulent entity. And when it does happen, it's pretty much then end of that CA -- all trust is lost and it cannot continue to conduct business. DigiNotar declared bankruptcy within a month of that scandal.

Note that it also don't cover "phishing" sites. So if you give your credit card details to "paypal.com.scammer.org" then, even though that domain might be verified by a CA, that's still your own fault. It would only be if a CA erroneously gave a certificate for "paypal.com" to someone who is not PayPal.

  • So if I buy a cert from Registrar X, then Registrar Y gives a cert to a fraudulent site, then do users claim from Registrar X or Registrar Y?
    – dave1010
    Apr 20, 2015 at 10:18
  • So after all, I as a user can claim only the money I lost, not the whole sum.
    – x-yuri
    Dec 14, 2021 at 17:49

No they should not be marketing gimmicks!

Certificates are not issued to just any one.

Companies that are trusted issuers, do research on someone requesting a certificate that he indeed is who he claims and that he has a legitimate business.

If for example you connect to a website that is fraud but has obtained a certificate from Verisign (mentioned as an example), I would expect that you can do many legal actions against the (both site and issuer).

SSL is based on trust which is a very thin concept when it comes to computer security.

If the trusted issuers are not doing their job good enough, then security goes down the drain.

Personally I don't know if there is any historic example on this (I hope there isn't any)

  • 5
    Certificates are issued to just about anyone, provided they can purchase a domain. What they're not (supposed to be) issued for is people who aren't responsible for the domain. Oct 29, 2011 at 17:10
  • @DonalFellows Unless your local network includes a TLS proxy.
    – Phil Lello
    Mar 13, 2016 at 18:02
  • A certificate should never give trust to the company but only make sure that the connection is encrypted. Unfrotunately the CA have decided it's so much easier to make tons of money without any service if they can go with the trust thing. Dont forget that Shuttleworth made his hundert millions not from MS but used his MS salery to start Thawte and sell it to make him filthy rich.
    – Lothar
    Jun 18, 2016 at 3:40

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