12th USENIX Security Symposium Abstract
Pp. 45-58 of the Proceedings
Plug-and-Play PKI: A PKI Your Mother Can Use
Peter Gutmann, Auckland University
A common complaint about PKI is that it
is simply too hard to use at the end-user level. Somewhat surprisingly, there exists no PKI equivalent of DHCP or
BOOTP for automated, transparent PKI setup, leaving the certificate user
experience similar to the process of bringing up an X.25 link. This paper provides a PKI equivalent of
these basic bootstrap services that provides automatic, transparent
configuration and setup of certificate information, with the user needing to
supply no more than their user name and password. The work covers the design process involved and tradeoffs made,
implementation details, and experiences with actual operation. The overall purpose of the work is to design
and implement a plug-and-play certificate setup mechanism usable by even the
most inexperienced user, a "PKI your mother can use".
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