“One thing expired deep inside
The day the music died”

Earlier this week, the music streaming service Spotify went down for about an hour. (We “heard it from a good friend who heard it from one other”…on Twitter.) All indicators level in the direction of a certificates expiration being the basis reason for the downtime. So, what occurred to take Spotify offline? And what does an hour of downtime add as much as for Spotify?

Let’s hash it out.

Spotify Followers Cry A River on Twitter

As often occurs when a preferred web companies goes down, many individuals “Heard It Via the Grapevine” on Twitter. Beginning round 8AM EST on August 19th Spotify customers began posting on Twitter saying they couldn’t entry the service:

Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:

As all the time, lots of the Tweets had been fairly humorous. (Hey, if there’s no music…you could as nicely get pleasure from some Twitter comedians!)

Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:

After all, a couple of followers of competing companies took the chance to throw some shade at Spotify:

Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:

In brief, Twitter lived as much as its status as the perfect downtime monitor on the earth – as much as the minute standing info and as an added bonus, you may get fun from all of the salty posts.

About an hour and a half later, Spotify introduced that all the things was again up and operating usually:

Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:

What Prompted Spotify to Go Down?

Spotify doesn’t seem to have made an official announcement explaining the technical particulars of what occurred. However as soon as once more, Twitter involves the rescue with the small print. Louis Poinsignon, a Community Engineer at Cloudflare, appears to have sleuthed out the problem:

Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:

The certificates expired at 12 PM GMT, which was 8AM US Japanese Time, only a few minutes earlier than the tweets from music-deprived customers began rolling in.

How Massive of a Deal was this Certificates Expiration?

Right here at Hashed Out, we’ve often highlighted the implications of letting a certificates expire. Listed below are a couple of of the incidents we’ve examined earlier than:

  • US Authorities shutdown causes dozens of websites to go down resulting from SSL certificates expirations
  • Ericsson lets certificates expire, 32 million individuals lose mobile service
  • Equifax misses a breach for 76 days due to an expired certificates
  • Customers expertise VPN points after Cisco lets certainly one of its SSL certificates expire
  • Pokemon Go goes down after a certificates expires

Try our article “What occurs when your SSL certificates expires?” for the total tales.

Now, let me be clear—we’re not bashing these organizations. Under no circumstances. The truth is that enormous organizations have 10,000’s of certificates, and conserving monitor of all of these expiration dates is a gargantuan activity.

However right here’s the cruel actuality: letting even a single certificates expire can have a huge effect.

How a lot hassle can a single certificates expiration trigger? One simple option to very roughly estimate the price of a certificates expiration is to have a look at how a lot income the corporate would usually make in that point interval.

Spotify’s income in 2019 was $7.44 billion, which equates to $20,383,561 per day, or about $1,273,9726 in an hour-and-a-half.

Now, most of Spotify’s income comes from subscriptions, so their income didn’t actually drop to $zero for that hour and-a-half. However direct income losses are solely a part of the associated fee—certificate-related downtime might be pricey in a wide range of methods:

  • Direct income losses
  • Lowered new buyer acquisition
  • Elevated buyer help time/prices
  • Buyer churn (present prospects go elsewhere)
  • Injury to model status
  • Potential compliance points

One other option to calculate the price of certificate-related downtime is to ask: what number of customers had been impacted?

In line with BusinessofApps, Spotify has about 286 million month-to-month lively customers, they usually hear for a mean of 25 hours monthly. That implies that any given time, there are roughly 9,781,200 customers “all within the temper for a melody” and listening on Spotify.

It doesn’t seem that Spotify was down for all customers in all areas (some customers reported they had been capable of hear with the desktop app however not the cell app, whereas others reported the alternative) but it surely undoubtedly appears to be like like there have been thousands and thousands of Spotify customers who had been NOT “feelin’ alright” whereas the service was down.

Implementing the Proper Certificates Administration Practices is Key

We don’t understand how Spotify’s certificates expired with out being caught. Was the certificates not being monitored? Did some wires get crossed? Both manner, the underside line is: certificates administration is difficult.

As organizations require an increasing number of digital certificates for varied varieties of use instances (SSL/TLS, gadget, code signing, S/MIME, and so on.) implementing efficient certificates administration practices has change into completely essential.

Don’t make the error of managing your certificates manually. Certificates administration strategies corresponding to spreadsheets and calendar reminders could be OK should you simply have one or two certificates, however they’re far too error susceptible for organizations with many certificates.

Step one to attenuate the prospect of certificate-related downtime is to automate essentially the most essential certificates administration features. Particularly, organizations ought to implement a certificates administration software with the next options:

  1. Automated certificates discovery (with private and non-private scanners)
  2. Automated expiration notifications to accountable events and organizational admins
  3. Automated notification escalations for imminent expirations
  4. The place doable, automated certificates renewal and set up
  5. Automated checks and notifications for safety vulnerabilities (e.g. POODLE)
  6. Automated approval flows for workers to request certificates by means of official channels (to discourage shadow certificates put in with out the group’s data)

This screenshot from DigiCert’s CertCentral administration platform is a superb instance exhibiting how 1000’s of certificates might be summarized in a single display, making it simple for IT admins to determine and replace any expiring certificates:

Certificate Expiration Takes Down Spotify The Day the Music Died:

After all, a dashboard like that is solely helpful if it really contains the entire certificates in your group. And that’s why an automatic certificates discovery characteristic can also be crucial—it finds all of your certificates and masses them into the dashboard so you possibly can see and handle them in a single handy place.

“Stayin’ Alive”…With a Little Preparation

However these certificates administration options solely work in case your group has accurately carried out them. The perfect certificates administration software on the earth gained’t prevent if the invention characteristic isn’t setup accurately or the notifications are despatched to the unsuitable particular person.

The outdated ways in which used to work aren’t adequate anymore. To reach the age of “all the time on” encryption, certificates administration must be prioritized and “baked in” to your present IT and cybersecurity workflows. For a lot of organizations, the certificates themselves aren’t an important half—the essential half is the administration of the certificates. That’s why DigiCert now ships CertCentral with their certificates—however, it’s nonetheless as much as your group to implement the certificates administration options and processes to keep away from conditions like this.


Certificates-related downtime, just like the incident Spotify skilled earlier this week, has sadly change into an increasing number of frequent lately.  Organizations are accumulating extra certificates than ever, and the duty of managing all of them whereas staying forward of expirations has change into a big problem.  Happily, efficient certificates administration practices generally is a enormous assist in easing this headache, making it simpler on your firm to keep away from pricey downtime.  The outcome?  Happier prospects and extra income.

*** This can be a Safety Bloggers Community syndicated weblog from Hashed Out by The SSL Retailer™ authored by Adam Thompson. Learn the unique submit at: https://www.thesslstore.com/weblog/the-day-the-music-died-certificate-expiration-takes-down-spotify/

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