by January 1, 2001 0 comments

Digital certificates must be obtained from a trusted
Certificate Authority (CA). There are many CAs on the Internet, one of the most
popular ones being VeriSign. In this article we’ll take you through a
step-by-step process of getting a digital certificate from VeriSign. You can
also try it out as it gives out a 60 days trial certificate.

Step 1 Go to the Net and key in the URL–www.verisign.com–on
your Web browser. Look for the category ‘Secure E-mail’, and click on the
sub-link below it labeled ‘Personal E-mail’. Next, select the link that says
‘Try a Digital ID FREE for 60 days’ and click the ‘Enroll Now’ button.

Step 2 There are four steps to enroll and you’ll be
presented with various forms to fill in. In the first section, fill in your
name, surname, and e-mail address. Most e-commerce Websites require you to fill
in personal details and some of them accept digital certificates. So the
information in the next section, if filled, will be included in the digital
certificate. This includes your county, zip code, date of birth, and gender. The
next section is titled ‘Additional Security for your Private Key’. If you
tick the box here and submit the form, a wizard will pop up through which you
can decide whether you should be asked for a password every time you access your
key, show a warning, or nothing at all. You will then be prompted to give a name
for this item, and the password itself. Give a friendly name like ‘my key’
and then key in a password.

Step 3 After completing the enrollment, you will be mailed
(to the e-mail ID you provide in the form) a PIN of your digital certificate
along with a link. You’ll get a mail from VeriSign with the subject ‘Trial
Class 1 VeriSign Digital ID Pickup Instructions’ and a link in the main
message. Copy the Digital ID PIN and click on the link. On the Web page that
follows, paste the digital PIN and click the Submit button. You are then shown
information about your certificate. On the same page, pressing the Install
button will install the certificate on your computer. This doesn’t take very
long.

Step 4 After you’ve installed the certificate, you can see
it in Internet Explorer from Tools>Internet Options>Content. Click on the
Certificates button in this window and you’ll see your certificate. Double
clicking on the certificate name will show you some information about it.

Once you obtain a digital certificate, you can send e-mail
without worrying about it being read by an unauthorized person or being tampered
with on the way.

Shekhar Govindarajan

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