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Email Signing Certificate Requests

Document ID 121


Introduction

Email Signing Certificates are available through the Texas A&M Identity Management Office. These certificates are used to verify the identity of the sender of an email. Email sent from an email client that has an email signing certificate installed will have an icon displayed when read that shows that the email has been digitally signed. This way, the recipient can trust that the email originated from the sender who claimed to send it. Email signing certificates are available to all Texas A&M faculty, staff and students. Certificates are assigned on a per-email address basis and are available only for @tamu.edu, @neo.tamu.edu and @exchange.tamu.edu email addresses.

A "real world" example of the use of an email signing certificate would be in the communication between a professor and their students. If a professor sends all of their email to the students using a signing certificate, then the students know that the email did, in fact, originate from the professor. If a prankster pretended to be the professor and sent an email to the class saying that class was canceled, the message would not have the digital signature. This would let the students know that it was not actually the professor who sent the class cancellation message.

 

Requesting An Email Signing Certificate

The following steps will enable you to request an email signing certificate from the Texas A&M Identity Management Office.

Note: You need to issue a separate request for each email address you want a certificate for.

 

The following information is needed to request an email signing certificate:

  • Username: Your NetID
  • Password: Your NetID password
  • Email address: YourNetID@neo.tamu.edu

 

1. Go to https://cert.tamu.edu/smime/ and log in at the CAS page with your NetID and your NetID password. If you have not requested any signing certificates, the page you are taken to will appear blank. Click on Submit New Request [fig. 01].

Email Signing Certificate page - blank

[fig. 01 - Email Signing Certificate Page, Blank]

 

2. You will be able to choose which email address you want a signing certificate for. You sill see listed all of your @tamu.edu, @neo.tamu.edu and @exchange.tamu.edu email addresses. If you have your NetID and the maximum of two email aliases, you will have up to seven email addresses to choose from. Select the one you want the certificate to be issued for, and then click on Submit request [fig. 02].

Choose email address

[fig. 02 - Choose Email Address]

 

3. Once the request has been submitted, you will see a status screen. It will list the time that the request was made. It will also say that you will be notified by email when the certificate is ready for download [fig. 03].

Submitted request

[fig. 03 - Submitted Request]

 

4. Go back to https://cert.tamu.edu/smime/. You will now see a list of the certificates you have requested, as well as its status. If the status says "Certificate Ready for Download," then click on your email address at the beginning of the line [fig. 04].

Certificate page - listed certificates

[fig. 04 - Certificate Page, Listed Certificates]

 

5. This will take you to the certificate download page for that email address. It will repeat the status of the certificate as well as list who made the request for the certificate. Click on Download Certificate [fig. 05].

Certificate download - certificate available

[fig. 05 - Certificate Download, Certificate Available]

 

6. The Download Certificate screen will display a 6-character alphanumeric password. You will need to enter this password when installing the certificate, so make a note of it. To download the certificate to your computer's default download location, click on Download Certificate [fig. 06].

Certificate password and download

[fig. 06 - Certificate Password and Download]

 

7. You are now ready to install your certificate. Instructions on installing your certificate can be found here for OS X or here for Windows.


If you have any further questions, please email helpdesk@tamu.edu or call us at 979.845.8300.


Document ID 121
September 23, 2013
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