A Silicon Valley start-up is attempting to set itself up as a third party intermediary between users and vendors to authenticate Internet transactions and communications between them.
Three-year old ValiCert aims to address the problem of validating certificates for public key infrastructure (PKI) and digital certificate systems from almost any vendor by checking users identity and financial situation.
Sathvik Krishnamurtihy, ValiCert’s vice president of marketing, said: "Our success depends on the ubiquity of our technology. We're providing a similar service to the one for the credit card industry, where you can get rid of fraud. That same thing has to happen in digital certificates."
Earlier this year, the company introduced its certificate authority software, ValiCert Enterprise VA 2.0, which provides validity status responses for any X.509 certificate using a raft of current validation mechanisms.
These include Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs); Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP); CRL Distribution Points (CRLDP) and Certificate Revocation Tree (CRT) validation.
The software includes an Email Validator, which plugs in to Secure Mime based email clients, an Address Book Validator, which regularly scans certificates within an email name and address book to see whether they are valid, and a Browser Validator, which alerts corporate users if commerce servers are using a Secure Sockets Layer certificate that has been revoked.
And according to a report from The Aberdeen Group, ValiCert could provide a critical component of an enterprise's Internet, intranet and extranet infrastructure.
Eric Hemmendinger, a senior analyst at the Aberdeen Group and author of the report, said: "As a neutral player among multiple certificate authorities, ValiCert is in a position today to provide enterprises with the products and services they need to enable a clearing house function for PKI based ebusiness."
Certco and Computer Associates’ Platinum unit are also developing ways to validate digital certificates, but ValiCert currently licenses its technology to customers such as IBM, Oracle, WorldTalk and the US Department of Defense.
It is also helping Intel develop its Common Data Security Architecture set of security protocols.
ValiCert has just raised $23 million from strategic investors, bringing its venture funding up to $30 million, which it will use to fund marketing programmes and international expansion.
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