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Using PKI Certificates for Authentication

To update an expired PKI certificate, see:

Your Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate and its associated keys are your passport to the emerging realm of PKI-secured services and applications. 

A PKI security certificate allows you to: access the Dartmouth Secure wireless network; identify (authenticate) yourself to some applications and on-line systems; digitally sign e-mail and other electronic documents and transactions; and encrypt data traffic, e-mail, and other documents to prevent unauthorized access.

The most important part of the PKI enrollment process is selecting a password that is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. A weak password will not provide you good protection. If you forget your password, it cannot be recovered; this may cause you to lose access to encrypted data. For tips on selecting the right one, see Selecting a Password.

To start using PKI, you will need to download the public (or root) certificate and create your own private certificate. The private certificate will be used by your web browser and operating system for authentication on the Dartmouth network. Your certificate can be stored on either a device known as an eToken that connects to a USB port on your computer or directly on your computer's hard drive.

Dartmouth recommends you use an eToken to store your PKI credentials.

Note: The best way to use certificates on public computers is with an eToken. Do not install and leave a private certificate on a public computer.

For more information related to this topic, see:


Last Updated: 8/20/10