Chase.com goes down, but only for Firefox users

The problem comes about one year after a three-day outage

Firefox users may have had trouble accessing JPMorgan Chase's website chase.com today when the bank experienced problems with an outdated security certificate.

According to a Chase spokesman, the Firefox certificate was updated on the bank's servers in about 45 minutes, resolving the issue.

Almost one year ago, Chase experienced a more severe outage that shut out millions of customers from its online banking site for three days.

That earlier outage stemmed from a failure related to Chase's user authentication database.

Today's outage involved a lapsed security certificate. Website servers present certificates to a customer's browsers to verify identities. This certificate, which has information such as the address of the site, is verified by a third party that is trusted by a user's computer.

A certificate that is outdated or lapsed would appear as having been revoked by the issuing server.

While short-lived, today's outage was still a major issue, according to market research firm Celent.

"No bank wants its customers to be presented with the message, "you may be communicating with an attacker," Celent analyst Jacob Jegher wrote in a blog.

Jegher said if the issue hadn't been resolved quickly, Chase could have ended up paying out reimbursements to customers unable to pay bills on time.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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