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About Certificates

Certificates are special files stored by your web browser, application, or operating system. A combination of a personal certificate issued by Dartmouth, and the Dartmouth root certificate allow you to be authenticated to resources on the Dartmouth network.

PKI certificates issued by Dartmouth College for eTokens are currently valid for four years; those issued to be stored on a computer's hard drive are currently valid for two years. You do not need to get another certificate until the one you have expires. You can get more than one certificate, but having too many may cause problems in some PKI applications.

Advantages of PKI include:

  • Passwords remain local to your computer or eToken (security improvement).
  • PKI authentication works from off campus through firewalls and Network Address Translation (NAT).
  • Applications and operating systems support PKI directly, without the need for additional Kerberos software.

Available applications currently using PKI include:

  • Dartmouth Secure (SSID) wireless network
  • Banner Student Information System
  • Library eResources (those accessed via the ejaccess mechanism) and medical resources on the OVID system
  • Blackboard
  • Windows Active Directory domain
  • Software downloads
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) client
  • Web Authentication project

Other applications under development include:

  • Securely signed and encrypted e-mail using Outlook, OS X mail 1.3.2 and newer, or other e-mail applications that support S/MIME.
  • Electronic document signatures.

For more information related to this topic, see:

Last Updated: 2/18/10