wiki:faq/security/mfpl-certificate-authority

Version 2 (modified by Jamie McClelland, 11 years ago) (diff)

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Some of your web sites tell me that your security certificate was signed by an unknown entity. What can I do to get to know you?

An SSL certificate is a file installed on our web servers that is designed to prove that the web site your are visiting really is run by May First/People Link. The SSL certificate is used when you visit a site that starts with https instead of http.

This step is important because it is possible to type in one of our web addresses into your browser, but be re-directed to another web site that looks like our web site, but isn't. If you enter your username and password, this information can then be stolen.

When you visit a site that starts with https, your web browser requests the SSL certificate. Every SSL certificate is signed by a "certificate authority." This signature says: The Certificate Authority called "ABC" (or whatever the name of the Certificate Authority is) assures you that the web site your are visiting really is run by Organization XYZ.

Your web browser comes pre-configured to trust certain corporate certificate authorities, like Thawte and Verisign.

We pay money to Certificate Authorities (such as Thawte) to have them verify our identity and sign our certificates.

We are beginning to take a new track. Rather than paying money to corporation to prove that we are who we say we are, we are instead creating our own Certificate Authority.

The catch: You have to install our Certificate Authority in your web browser. You can do that by clicking on the link below.

If you are running Firefox, it will take you through the steps of accepting it automatically.

If you are running Internet Explorer, download the file. Then:

  1. Click Tools -> Internet Options
  2. Click Content -> Certificates
  3. Click Trusted Root Certificates
  4. Click Import

If you'd like to confirm that this certificate is the proper certificate (and you have the gpg key for Jamie), you can download our respective asc files and run:

gpg --verify mfpl.crt.jamie.asc mfpl.crt

You should see output like:

gpg: Signature made Tue 11 Mar 2008 08:23:00 PM EDT using DSA key ID 76CC057D
gpg: Good signature from "Jamie McClelland <jamie@mayfirst.org>"
gpg:                 aka "Jamie McClelland <jm@mayfirst.org>"

Certificate updated 2008-05-24

Please note! We generated a new certificate due to the Debian openssl vulnerability. Please remove our old certificate and replace it with the attached one.

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