New Development on HKU Digital Certificate (HKU-Cert)

The HKU Certification Authority (CA) has been issuing digital certificates (HKU-Cert) to staff and students of this University since September 2000 for signing electronically in the HKU ESD System and for communicating with secure e-mail (i.e signing and encrypting e-mail). Computer Centre is pleased to announce the following enhancement of the HKU Cert:
HKU-Cert can now be used in HKU ESD System running on Microsoft Internet Explorer v5.5
When the HKU-Cert was first issued, only the Netscape v4.7x browsers were tested to be able to support the use of HKU-Cert for digital signatures on the HKU ESD System.  (The HKU-Cert is in X.509 v.3 format with strong 1024-bit RSA keys. The X.509 v.3 format is the most commonly used format for digital certificates.)

Since then, the Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) version 5.5 for web browsing has been released.  As IE 5.5 is also widely used, we have been enhancing the HKU ESD System to ensure that the HKU-Cert can be used in IE 5.5.

The user can now run HKU ESD Applications, accessible from the HKU ESD System portal page, using either Netscape 4.7x or IE 5.5.

HKU-Cert on Outlook Express 5.5
The Microsoft Outlook Express (OE) version 5.5 is also released with IE 5.5. The procedure for sending secure e-mail using HKU-Cert is now updated to include the procedure for OE 5.5 as well as Netscape 4.7x.
Issuance of HKU-Cert to non-HKU users (e.g. HKU collaborators)
When the HKU-Cert was first issued, it was only issued to HKU members.  Now if HKU members have to communicate in secure e-mail (i.e. encrypted and/or signed e-mail) with non-HKU users, say external collaborators, the HKU department head can apply for HKU-Cert on behalf of the collaborators. (Click here to download an application form.)

The Jockey Club Research and Information Centre for Landslide Prevention and Land Development, attached to our Department of Civil Engineering, is the first unit which has applied for HKU-Cert for collaborators working on the Electronic Mark Plant Query System (EMPQS) project.  The EMPQS enables secure communication of underground plant information provided by utility companies to the information requestors.  The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of secure electronic communication remarkably cut down the time and labour required to process the increasing number of requests for underground plant information for road excavation, thus facilitating underground plant installation, repair and maintenance.


Note: The HKU-Cert issued to a non-HKU user is only for communicating in secure e-mail, not for digital signatures in HKU ESD Applications. 
Any department interested in applying for HKU-Cert for collaborators or in implementing digital signature for any of the department's web-based applications can contact the undersigned.
M. C. Pong
Tel: 2859 2491
E-mail: pmc@cc.hku.hk

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