Certificate hacker probably paid by Iran, say victimised firms

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The CEO of a certificate-issuing company that was hacked in March is even more certain now that a wave of attacks against similar firms is backed by the Iranian government.

"I think even more so now than before," said Melih Abdulhayoglu, the CEO and founder of Comodo, a Jersey City, N.J.-based security company that is also one of hundreds of certificate authorities, or CAs, allowed to issue SSL (secure socket layer) certificates.

The certificates authenticate the identity of websites, to show, say, that Google is really Google. Last March, after Comodo confirmed that its network had been breached and nine certificates stolen -- including ones for Google, Microsoft and Yahoo -- Abdulhayoglu said he believed the attacks came were backed by the Iranian government.