The Information Technology Authority (ITA) has launched a new Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) system to help secure online transactions.
The advantages of the PKI system were announced during the launch of ITA’s National Digital Certification Center at Crowne Plaza Muscat on Monday.
The centre, also known as Root Certificate Authority (RCA), will be the trusted medium that provides PKI services to enable Internet users to exchange data securely and make online transaction through the use of public and private cryptographic key pairs.
The centre was inaugurated by H E Said bin Hamdoon al Harthy, Undersecretary for Ports and Maritime Affairs in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and ITA board member, and its opening comes as part of the ‘authorised eSignature via smartphones’ project.
Yaqoob bin Dur Mohammed al Bulushi, deputy CEO for infrastructure and e-services, ITA, said, “The project aims to streamline e-services for businesses, government and individuals.”
A statement issued by ITA stated, ‘PKI is a system of policies, procedures, people, hardware, software and services that support the use of public key cryptography to obtain secure communication. PKI technology is used to maintain a more secure environment. It provides an increased level of confidence for exchanging information over an increasingly insecure Internet. PKI typically involves usage of digital certificates which are generated securely by ITA as the trusted RCA in Oman.
A digital certificate provides an electronic means of proving identity in order to securely conduct business online.’
Bulushi said, “Corporates can protect information through encryption so that confidential data may be shared over unsecure networks. It will also allow the sender and receiver to have confidence that the data has not been tampered with.”
Digital certificates will be issued through the National Digital Certification Center for authentication and signing certificates to protect online services and transactions against identity fraud.
By working with the ROP, such certificates will now be automatically embedded in resident cards. They can also be provided in PKI-enabled SIM cards and authentication tokens or smart cards supplied by ITA.