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TCS introduces the new Trusted Certificate Service at TNC15

17/05/2015

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The newest iteration of GÉANT’s Trusted Certificate Service (formerly known as the TERENA Certificate Service) geared up for action with a workshop at this year’s networking conference, TNC15, in Porto on 16 June. With almost 30 participants and live testing, the event provided useful insights into the new version of TCS that is set to launch on 1 July 2015.

For around nine years, TCS has been helping to increase security in online transactions by facilitating the deployment of digital certificates. TCS takes advantage of a bulk purchasing arrangement whereby participating national research and education network (NREN) organisations may issue close to unlimited numbers of certificates provided by a commercial Certification Authority (CA) at a significantly reduced price.

The workshop, 'TCS introduces the new TCS', showed current and prospective service participants how to use the new online service portal developed by DigiCert, which is the new TCS service provider as from 1 July 2015.

The new portal is expected to improve the user experience of ordering digital certificates because SAML-based federated access has been built in. It also allows for NREN branding and will be available in different languages.

The workshop also included discussion with a panel of technical experts from the TCS community, who had extensively tested the new portal before it went into production. The new TCS is up-to-date with recent changes to the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA), which plays an important role in signing digital certificates used to support secure websites. The DigiCert TCS will provide the more secure SHA-2 supported certificates that replace the original SHA-1 type. Another change is the addition of a new type of certificate: document signing certificates.

Alessandra Scicchitano, Project Development Officer at GÉANT said: "It is good to see so many people and so much interest in a service that has been serving our community for so long. That's a testimonial to how happy the community has been with TCS. The demonstration by Digicert was excellent; it included live testing of the new portal in front of the audience and this shows we are going in the direction of an even better service when we launch on July 1st."

About TCS

The five main types of certificates available are:

  • SSL certificates – for authenticating servers and establishing secure sessions with end clients.
  • Grid certificates – for authenticating Grid hosts and services (IGTF compliant).
  • Client certificates – for identifying individual users and securing email communications.
  • Code signing certificates – for authenticating software distributed over the Internet.
  • Document signing certificates – for authenticating documents from Adobe PDF, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice.

For more information about TCS, please visit the TCS web page.

About DigiCert

DigiCert, a US-based company, is one of the largest worldwide Certification Authorities. Its new Web portal is expected to improve the user experience of ordering digital certificates because SAML-based federated access has been built in. The portal also allows for NRENs branding and will be available in different languages. Further training opportunities will be provided to current and new participants in the coming months.

DigiCert website

About TNC

TNC is the largest and most prestigious research networking conference, regularly attracting over 650 participants, including decision makers, networking specialists and managers from all major European NRENs, universities, sister institutions and industry. Through keynote speeches by renowned specialists and many other sessions, TNC presents an overview of the latest developments, both technical and in the areas of application and management.

TNC15 is organised by GÉANT and hosted by FCT|FCCN, Portugal's unit for the operation of the National Research and Education Network within the funding agency for science and research in Portugal. The conference is being held on 15-18 June 2015 in Porto. All information, including the full conference schedule can be found on the TNC15 website.