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Most common trusted root certificates

With the press coverage lately about governments being able to subvert SSL/TLS by coercing a certificate authority into issuing rogue certificates, I decided to do some data gathering in order to answer a simple question:

How many trusted roots does the average person need in their browser?

To answer the question, I wrote a small tool to collect the root cert for a list of sites and ran it on a sets of data - a mix of known SSL/TLS sites and hosts on the Alexa Top 1 Million list. So out of 350k hosts queried, I was able to collect 50812 entries. The stats are fairly interesting and somewhat expected. The number of certificate authorities that have issued more than 50 certificates for that set of data is 37.

While I was gathering the data, it became known that even Mozilla includes some root certificates that don’t have complete clarity of ownership.

My plan now is to remove most of the CA root certificates that ship in browsers. It will be informative to see what breaks and how many issues I run into. After a month or so of usage, I will post the details and hopefully it will be an easy guide as to the smallest set of trusted CAs to have and not be impacted in daily business. Granted this will be a US centric list, most international users can probably add one or two trusted roots that are for CAs issuing country specific certificates.

What follows is the list of root certificates (also available as text file) sorted with decreasing popularity. The format is “Number of issued certs | Friendly name | Subject”.

7519 | GeoTrust | OU=Equifax Secure Certificate Authority, O=Equifax, C=US
4277 | USERTrust | CN=AddTrust External CA Root, OU=AddTrust External TTP Network, O=AddTrust AB, C=SE
4007 | Go Daddy Class 2 Certification Authority | OU=Go Daddy Class 2 Certification Authority, O="The Go Daddy Group, Inc.", C=US
3701 | VeriSign Class 3 Public Primary CA | OU=Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority, O="VeriSign, Inc.", C=US
2948 | USERTrust | CN=UTN-USERFirst-Hardware, OU=, O=The USERTRUST Network, L=Salt Lake City, S=UT, C=US
2649 | thawte |, CN=Thawte Premium Server CA, OU=Certification Services Division, O=Thawte Consulting cc, L=Cape Town, S=Western Cape, C=ZA
2077 |  |, CN=plesk, OU=Plesk, O=Parallels, L=Herndon, S=Virginia, C=US
1898 | Equifax Secure Global eBusiness CA-1 | CN=Equifax Secure Global eBusiness CA-1, O=Equifax Secure Inc., C=US
1806 | VeriSign | OU=VeriSign Trust Network, OU="(c) 1998 VeriSign, Inc. - For authorized use only", OU=Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority - G2, O="VeriSign, Inc.", C=US
1580 |  | E=webaster@localhost, CN=localhost, OU=none, O=none, L=Sometown, S=Someprovince, C=US
1461 |  | E=root@localhost.localdomain, CN=localhost.localdomain, OU=SomeOrganizationalUnit, O=SomeOrganization, L=SomeCity, S=SomeState, C=--
1378 | thawte |, CN=Thawte Server CA, OU=Certification Services Division, O=Thawte Consulting cc, L=Cape Town, S=Western Cape, C=ZA
1366 | VeriSign | CN=VeriSign Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority - G5, OU="(c) 2006 VeriSign, Inc. - For authorized use only", OU=VeriSign Trust Network, O="VeriSign, Inc.", C=US
1189 |  |, CN=plesk, OU=Plesk, O="SWsoft, Inc.", L=Herndon, S=Virginia, C=US
922 | Entrust | Secure Server Certification Authority, OU=(c) 1999 Limited, incorp. by ref. (limits liab.),, C=US
902 | GlobalSign | CN=GlobalSign Root CA, OU=Root CA, O=GlobalSign nv-sa, C=BE
783 | GTE CyberTrust Global Root | CN=GTE CyberTrust Global Root, OU="GTE CyberTrust Solutions, Inc.", O=GTE Corporation, C=US
737 | CúOúMúOúDúO | CN=COMODO Certification Authority, O=COMODO CA Limited, L=Salford, S=Greater Manchester, C=GB
692 |  | E=ca@snakeoil.dom, CN=Snake Oil CA, OU=Certificate Authority, O="Snake Oil, Ltd", L=Snake Town, S=Snake Desert, C=XY
461 | DigiCert | CN=DigiCert High Assurance EV Root CA,, O=DigiCert Inc, C=US
394 | Starfield Class 2 Certification Authority | OU=Starfield Class 2 Certification Authority, O="Starfield Technologies, Inc.", C=US
264 |  |,, O=ispgateway, L=Kempten, S=Bayern, C=DE
257 |  |, CN=plesk, OU=Plesk, O="Parallels, Inc.", L=Herndon, S=Virginia, C=US
208 | Entrust (2048) | Certification Authority (2048), OU=(c) 1999 Limited, incorp. by ref. (limits liab.),
198 | Trustwave | CN=SecureTrust CA, O=SecureTrust Corporation, C=US
168 |  |, CN=*, OU=web, O=lxlabs, L=WA, S=WA, C=IN
143 | thawte | CN=thawte Primary Root CA, OU="(c) 2006 thawte, Inc. - For authorized use only", OU=Certification Services Division, O="thawte, Inc.", C=US
101 |  |, CN=confixx, OU=Confixx, O="SWsoft, Inc.", L=Herndon, S=Virginia, C=US
98 | StartCom Certification Authority | CN=StartCom Certification Authority, OU=Secure Digital Certificate Signing, O=StartCom Ltd., C=IL
92 |  |, CN=CA Cert Signing Authority, OU=, O=Root CA
87 | USERTrust | CN=UTN - DATACorp SGC, OU=, O=The USERTRUST Network, L=Salt Lake City, S=UT, C=US
71 | VeriSign | OU=Secure Server Certification Authority, O="RSA Data Security, Inc.", C=US
70 | Starfield Technologies |, CN=, OU=ValiCert Class 2 Policy Validation Authority, O="ValiCert, Inc.", L=ValiCert Validation Network
64 |  | CN=localhost, OU=For testing purposes only, O=Apache HTTP Server
63 |  |,,,, L=US, S=US, C=US
62 | SECOM Trust Systems CO LTD | OU=Security Communication RootCA1, O=SECOM, C=JP
61 | Network Solutions | CN=Network Solutions Certificate Authority, O=Network Solutions L.L.C., C=US