VeriSign adds features for defense PKI

VeriSign, Inc.

VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. announced it has enhanced its public key infrastructure (PKI) services that defense contractors can use to obtain digital certificates.

Under the Defense Department's Interim External Certificate Authority program, VeriSign's certificates will allow contractors to securely access DOD Web sites, exchange secure e-mail and digitally sign forms. The latest version of VeriSign's service includes automatic renewal and bulk registration for large customers.

DOD this summer began demanding that contractors use PKI to get digital certificates to authenticate and secure their transactions. About 350,000 defense contractors are expected to acquire Interim External Certificate Authority digital certificates needed to securely communicate with the department.

VeriSign is one of three companies contracted by the department to issue the certificates, along with Digital Signature Trust of Salt Lake City and Fairfax and Chesapeake, Va.-based Operational Research Consultants.

As defense officials continue the rapid implementation of its PKI, it is expected to extend the deadline for full deployment until April 1 of next year. VeriSign said it expects more PKI business as defense contractors move to meet the department's deadline.

All VeriSign IECA digital certificates are equivalent to and interoperable with the digital certificates issued by the department's internal PKI, the company said.

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