Oculus headsets nixed worldwide by expired digital certificate

Oculus headsets nixed worldwide by expired digital certificate

NEWSBYTE: Virtual reality gamers have faced their greatest level boss in the past 24 hours: an expired digital certificate. But might it defeat your business too?

VR hardware company Oculus – owned by Facebook – has endured a global public relations meltdown as its Oculus Rift headsets were rendered unusable by the lapsed certificate.

Digital certificates enable companies like Oculus to exchange information securely over the Web by assigning a public key for cryptographic digital signatures and encryption. These keys are divvied out by a central authority and tend to be valid for a fixed period, usually a certain number of years. The certificate needs to be replaced or updated once the clock runs down.

LinkedIn and Hypercom are two examples of similar, high-profile certificate lapses in the recent past.

For companies that handle large amounts of customer data, certificate expiries reflect badly on their trustworthiness and commitment to data security – especially when customer data has also been stored unsalted, as was the case when LinkedIn was hacked a few years ago.

Craig Stewart, Vice-President EMEA for certificate management company Venafi, pointed out how avoidable this situation was for Oculus.

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“Oculus has just made headlines around the world because of an eminently solvable problem. If all certificates were tracked and managed centrally, this issue would never have occurred in the first place,” he said.

“Instead their flagship device is now unusable and thousands of angry customers are commenting on their failure to foresee and address this glitch.

“However, Oculus is far from alone in experiencing these difficulties – the average business has around 17,000 undiscovered or forgotten certificates in their environment and occasionally one will be as important as this.

“Far too many businesses are still managing their certificates manually, using Excel spreadsheets instead of automated systems, and until they make the switch over, we’ll just see these reputational crises continue.”

Oculus was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. The company focuses on high-end gaming, although it also has plenty of commercial users exploring the potential of VR technology.

Internet of Business says

An Oculus software update is already in place that fixes the issue. Rift users can go here for steps on how to get back online.