CertiVeR, a European research project under the eTEN programme, developed and launched a complete and decentralised service for certification authorities (CAs) and other users. The technology – a secure online certificate status information system – has resulted in a high performance, flexible service available 24/7 that validates and revokes digital certificates in real time.
“Now, users can be sure that the digital credential is secure and valid,“ explains Oscar Manso. “A digital certificate is like a passport. If it is stolen, it can be reported and cancelled, or revoked.”
CertiVeR offers a certificate validation and revocation service with the corresponding Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) publication. This enables the user to verify the state of a specific certificate before executing any operation or transaction upon it. The system is available to any certificate authority in the world, but the consortium is focusing on Europe where the e-Signature Directive requires the provision of this service across all EU Member States.
The use of electronic signatures requires the verification of the signature policy, which includes the validation of all the certificates in the signer’s certification path. However, as Manso explains, the time between when a certificate may have been revoked and the time the new Certificate Revocation List (CRL) is released, could be significant.
A CRL is a list of certificates and their serial numbers that have been revoked, are no longer valid and should not be relied upon by any system user. For example, a certificate is revoked if the CA had improperly issued a certificate or if a private key is believed to be compromised. In the past, CAs did not use an online validation service, resulting in delays of up to one week.
“Because CertiVeR operates in real time, this security barrier is overcome,” he says. “CertiVeR can be connected to all CAs in Europe to refresh the status of certificates. Users can now have a single access point. Certificate revocation is easier and safer, which increases transaction confidence, and there is now a single phone number to revoke all certificates.”
CAs, both private and public, would profit from CertiVeR’s real time information. This level of service is far too complex and expensive to be run individually. Cost savings are realised as a result of the technical, managerial and R&D economies of scale.
CertiVeR establishes secure connection interfaces with the CAs to obtain identification information about a user. Several identification systems can be used to identify CA users, including voice biometrics. When a user wants to revoke a certificate, a call is made to the central revocation number. The automated call centre system tries to verify the identity of the caller through voice recognition technologies.
If the automated system is unable to verify the call, it is transferred to an operator who tries to determine the user’s identity by means of secret questions and general information stored. Once a user is validated into the certificate revocation system, the user can suspend or activate any certificates in real time.
CertiVeR’s online certification status information system was originally developed to fill the needs of the financial sector. A secure central repository for certificate revocation information creates and manages revocation documents and authenticates requests following the requirements of the ISO 10779 standard.
Twelve pilots at European and global level include three currently running that, according to Manso, are performing “very well”. A significant pilot ran with TERENA (Trans European Research and Education Networking Association) in The Netherlands. In this instance, the consortium created TACAR, TERENA’s Academic CA Repository, and worked on getting the appropriate root CA certificates needed by users’ browsers in a practical and cost-effective manner.
CertiVeR also participated in the production of open source tools and demo environments to promote the adoption of real-time validation environments at global level. The consortium is now targeting software developers to simplify the validation so they can create applications with a single point of access.
“Other end users can take advantage of CertiVeR’s infrastructure to validate and use their digital signatures for activities such as electronic bills and online transactions,” he adds. “The potential for B2B and B2C applications is huge.”
Manso expects a full-scale marketing effort to be launched this October.
Jernett Karensen | alfa
Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences