A wide spectrum of certificate revocation mechanisms is currently in use. A number of them have been proposed by standardisation bodies, while some others have originated from academic or private institutions. What is still missing is a systematic and robust framework for the sound evaluation of these mechanisms. We present a mechanism-neutral framework for the evaluation of certificate status information (CSI) mechanisms. These mechanisms collect, process and distribute CSI. A detailed demonstration of its exploitation is also provided. The demonstration is mainly based on the evaluation of Certificate Revocation Lists, as well as of the Online Certificate Status Protocol. Other well-known CSI mechanisms are also mentioned for completeness. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.