Mozilla, the creator of the Firefox web browser, has denied a request from a United Arab Emirates firm — accused of assisting that nation's global cyber espionage operations — to issue security certificates to websites without the supervision of a more trusted group.

Why it matters: Web certificates are a key part of encrypting traffic to and from websites. A malicious group issuing those certificates could snoop on data to the sites it serves.

Context: Jenna McLaughlin of the The Intercept along with Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman of Reuters wrote explosive reports about Dark Matter, the UAE outfit tied to cyber espionage.

  • As those reports were published, Mozilla was considering a request from Dark Matter to be included in Mozilla's list of root certificate authorities — which would give Dark Matter the ability issue certificates.

Details: Since the Reuters report in January, Mozilla has been accepting developer comments on whether it should stop trusting certificates issued to Dark Matter by root certificate authorities, known as intermediate certificates.

  • Ultimately Mozilla "made the decision to revoke trust in Dark Matter’s intermediate certificates and to deny the pending inclusion request," Mozilla said in a statement
  • "We are confident this is the right decision, but it was not made lightly," the statement continued.

Go deeper

11 mins ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.

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