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General information

Public Key Certificates


Certificates (X.509 or S/MIME or TLS) can be used to verify the identity of the owner, as well as other properties (e.g. e-mail or organisation), of a public cryptographic key (refer to public key cryptography for more technical information).

Such cryptographic keys can be used to generate electronic signatures and/or to establish encrypted communication channels.

Electronic signatures can offer:

  • authentication - linking the originator to the information
  • integrity - allowing any changes to the information provided to be detected more easily
  • non-repudiation - ensuring satisfaction (in a legal sense) about where the electronic signature has come from

As a member of the DFN community, the RWTH can apply for user or server certificates from the GÉANT/TCS or from various DFN-PKIs. 

The DFN-PKI Global and the GÉANT/TCS user certificates can be used for advanced electronic signatures. If you need a qualified electronic signature, please contact a commercial provider, e.g. the federal printing agency.

The certificate applicant must be associated to the RWTH Aachen University.

The following certificates can be applied for:
  • GÉANT/TCS (Built-in-Token PKI) for user or server certificates.
  • DFN-Verein Community PKI (Non builit-in-token PKI from the DFN-Verein)
  • DFN-PKI Grid (only for Grid-Computing, PKI from the DFN-Verein)