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VeriSign Enhances DoD PKI Services

VeriSign said Tuesday it was enhancing the PKI services it provides for defense contractors under the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Interim External Certificate Authority (IECA) program. The IECA certificates allow external contractors and organizations to securely access DoD Web sites, exchange secure mail with the DoD, and digitally sign documents and electronic forms.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign implemented automated renewal processes for all users and bulk registration services for volume purchasers. According to VeriSign, The enhancements were implemented to accommodate an expected surge in volume as defense contractors continue to enroll for digital certificates to meet the DoD deadline for full deployment of PKI.

More than 350,000 defense contractors are expected to acquire IECA digital certificates needed to securely communicate with the DoD. As the DoD continues the rapid implementation of its PKI, it is expected to extend the deadline for full deployment of both the internal and external DoD PKI to April 1.

All VeriSign IECA digital certificates are equivalent to and interoperable with the digital certificates issued by the internal DoD PKI. In addition to meeting the IECA security policy and functional requirements, VeriSign's IECA certificates include VeriSign's NetSure protection plan, which provides compensation in the event of a financial loss due to specified certificate thefts or losses.

"The DoD continues to emphasize its reliance on commercial contractors to accomplish its war-fighting mission and anti-terrorism activities," said Barry Leffew, VP for VeriSign Public Sector.