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31 August 2010
Upgraded TACAR repository processes certificates in minutes
Christian Gijtenbeek (TERENA Secretariat) working on the new TACAR tool.

TACAR (TERENA Academic CA Repository) has been a trusted store of verified Certification Authority (CA) root certificates since its launch in 2003. Now TACAR has been upgraded, allowing much faster access to the root certificates and other documents it contains.

TACAR solves a major problem in the use of Public Key Infrastructures (PKI): the ability to cost-effectively obtain CA root certificates needed by browsers in situations where the root certificates are not pre-installed in the browsers, applications and operating systems. TACAR verifies, stores and distributes root certificates that are managed by institutions and/or organisations that support non-profit research projects in the academic community, such as research and education networking organisations, universities, and research centres.

The original version of TACAR was based on manual processes, and it could take around a week for documents to be added to the repository. The new version of TACAR is automated and reduces the processing time to a few minutes, without compromising security and accuracy, so users can continue to trust what is stored in TACAR.

Co-funded by the GÉANT project as part of its eduPKI service development, the upgraded TACAR has an improved interface which allows CA administrators to self-service, so they can submit documents directly into the repository. It also includes a new “category manager”, which allows appointed people to indicate which CAs have been accredited by a Policy Management Authority. This benefits TACAR’s users as they can immediately see and download accredited CA root certificates.

"TACAR has grown into a tool with widespread value, and we are very proud of that," explains Licia Florio (TERENA Secretariat). "It has become the official repository of the International Grid Trust Federation (IGTF), because the majority of the CA root certificates hosted by TACAR have been accredited by the IGTF. Later this year, TACAR will be used to support the GÉANT community as well. We hope that the latest changes to TACAR will make it an even better tool for the research and academic community."

The new TACAR repository is available at www.tacar.org .

Further information

TACAR repository

eduPKI website