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Tunisia rolls out nationwide public key infrastructure secured by Thales

New national PKI helps grow digital economy by enabling trusted online services for government, enterprise and citizens

TUNIS, Tunisia, February 1, 2017 - Thales, leader in critical information systems, cybersecurity and data security, is providing hardware-based encryption technology to Tunisia’s National Digital Certification Agency (NDCA) to help secure its newly modernised national public key infrastructure (PKI) that will be used to provide trusted online services for e-government, e-commerce, e-banking and e-health, amongst other applications.

The key signing ceremony to generate and protect the public-private root key pair within the Thales hardware security module (HSM) for NDCA’s Certificate Authorities (CAs) took place 28 November 2017, in the presence of the Secretary of State for Digital Economy Mr. Habib Dababi.

The private portion of a public-private root key pair is the most sensitive element in a PKI. If compromised the effects range all the way from downtime of applications, to a loss of trust in the transactions that depend on the PKI – all existing certificates would need to be revoked, a new root key established, and new user and device certificates re-issued. Thales HSMs are purposed built, certified cryptographic devices used to generate and protect keys from cyber-attacks or malicious use.

As cited in the Thales 2016 PKI Global Trends report, HSMs are a well-accepted best practice for protecting offline root and online issuing CAs’ keys and certificates. Thales nShield HSMs are certified to FIPS 140-2 level 3, Common Criteria EAL4+ and comply with eIDAS standards, meeting NDCA’s exacting security standards for the project.

Syrine Tlili, CEO, Tunisia NDCA says:

“Our newly launched PKI is at the core of services being offered under Digital Tunisia 2020 – a government strategic plan designed to boost our nation’s digital economy by enriching online government services and electronic commerce. We have worked with Thales previously and chose to deploy its HSMs to underpin the security of our digital infrastructure based on the quality of its solutions, reliability and proven track record.”

Philip Schreiber, Regional Sales Director MEASA for Thales e-Security, says:

“Every day our digital world is becoming more and more dependent on PKI. The need to create unique credentials that validate the identity of any person, device or service has never been more important. With the ever-present threat of cyberattacks, malicious insiders, or even employee mistakes, the role of digital credentials has reached new levels of criticality. Thales HSMs enable customers such as NDCA to foster a climate of confidence and trust between government and citizens and underpin the security and reliability of their online transactions.”

Read more about how Thales helped secure Tunisia’s digital infrastructure in our case study

Download your copy of the new 2016 PKI Global Trends Study

Download the Press Release

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