Dartmouth College researchers who pioneered the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) have assumed leadership roles in the establishment of Internet security standards and guidelines. "PKI labors under the misconception that it's difficult," notes Dartmouth PKI architect Scott Rea. "PKI is most successful when it runs under the covers or in the background."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is funding a program at Dartmouth's Institute for Security, Technology, and Society (ISTS) that seeks to improve the user-friendliness of PKI. The PKI Resource Query Protocol (PRQP) is one of the fruits of this program. ISTS research fellow Massimiliano Pala says PRQP delivers a more distributed system for PKI, and obtains genuine references in order to validate the PKI certificates of servers or individuals. Rea and Pala point to the increasing adoption of PKI and an intentional initiative to persuade more and more organizations to embrace PKI with the creation of consortiums organized around common themes and bridge groups combined into a federation to trust everyone within these networks.
ISTS research director Denise Anthony envisions Dartmouth playing a mentoring or parenting role for PKI and PRQP. "Our students, grad students, and post-docs have learned about this emerging technology since it was born," she says. "And we continue to be involved as PKI and PRQP go global and become the standard way to deploy interoperable computing security."
From Dartmouth News
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