The U.S. Government shutdown has affected a whole host of areas in the public sector. One that might not immediately spring to mind, but is rather important nevertheless, is federal HTTPS certificates. Techcrunch had a look into the issue and compiled a list of all the federal HTTPS certificates that expired, or are about to expire. It included domains that redirect to the Congressional record and websites for agencies such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If you go to one of the sites with an already expired HTTPS certificate, such as disasterhousing.gov, you get a warning that the site might not be secure.
During the government shutdown, security experts noticed several federal websites were throwing back browser errors because the TLS certificate, which lights up your browser with “HTTPS” or flashes a padlock, had expired on many domains. And because so many federal workers have been sent home on unpaid leave — or worse, working without pay but trying to fill in for most of their furloughed department — expired certificates aren’t getting renewed. Renewing certificates doesn’t take much time or effort — sometimes just a click of a mouse. But some do cost money, and during a government shutdown, there isn’t any.