Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a security architecture that provides comprehensive security solutions for data in terms of authentication, privacy/confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation. In realizing the need for secured data communications by Nigerians globally in all electronic transactions, NITDA decided to set up the National Public Key Infrastructure in Nigeria.
A Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) supports the distribution and identification of public encryption keys, enabling users and computers to both securely exchange data over networks such as the Internet and verify the identity of the party. Without PKI, sensitive information can still be encrypted (ensuring confidentiality) and exchanged, but there would be no assurance of the identity (authentication) of the other party. Any form of sensitive data exchanged over the internet is reliant on PKI for security.
The objective of a PKI is to create trust across two parties on exchange of data over Networks such as the Internet. A PKI includes the following key elements:
- A trusted party, called a Certificate Authority (CA), acts as the root of trust which is in this case (NITDA) and provides services that authenticate the identity of individuals, computers and other entities.
- A Registration Authority, often called a subordinate CA, certified by a root CA to issue certificates for specific uses permitted by the Root Authority.
- A certificate Database, which stores certificates requests and issues and revokes certificates.
- A certificate store, which resides on a local computer as a place to store issued certificates and Public keys.
NITDA’S Public Key Infrastructure Project for Nigeria has covered all these key elements and it’s take off stage will be in the third (3rd) quarter of year 2016