Information Technology Services

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Certificate Authority at URI

Background

A Certificate Authority (CA) is an organization that verifies the identity of computers on a network to authenticate that the parties exchanging information really are who they claim to be. Once the CA verifies this information, it issues a digital certificate of authenticity to the interacting computers. This practice ensures network security and protects confidentiality of information by using encryption and authentication standards.

ITS has set up a CA locally to allow Web sites that transfer sensitive data to encrypt that data. Previously, any site needing secure traffic would have to obtain a certificate from an outside source, which typically incurs setup and yearly fees. Using a certificate issued on-campus and signed by our local CA means that secure transfers can be achieved without any cost.

The trade-off for the convenience and cost savings of locally-signed server certificates is that URI’s CA certificates must be manually installed in Web browsers to avoid the browser constantly complaining that it doesn’t recognize the signer of server certificates issued by the local CA.

Below are step-by-step certificate installation instructions for the major browsers.

Certificate Installation Instructions

  • Internet Explorer
  • Safari
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Opera
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