Public key infrastructures (PKIs) are the cornerstone for the security of the communication layer of online services relying on certificate-based authentication, such as e-commerce, e-government, online banking, cloud services, and many others. A PKI is an infrastructure based on a hierarchical model, but the use of PKIs in non-hierarchical contexts has exposed them to many types of attacks. Here, we discuss weaknesses exploited in past attacks and we propose a solution based on an original consensus algorithm developed for use on blockchain technology. In this implementation we retain the full functionality around X.509 certificates, i.e., for the triad (server name, server address, X.509 server certificate), and demonstrate a mechanism for obtaining fast consensus. The main properties of the solution are that a consensus may be reached even when not all members of the involved PKI participate in a transaction, and that no advanced trust agreement among PKIs is needed. The proposed solution is able to detect PKI attacks and can distinguish errors from attacks, allowing precise management of anomalies.
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