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Grid certificates

Grid certificates

FGCI uses personal X.509 certificates for user authentication as do most of the middleware based grid environments. In this approach the user doesn't need a cluster specific personal user account since the authentication is done on the grid level. This also means that CSC user account is not necessary for FGCI usage.

Certificate requests need to be signed by a Certification Authority (CA) which acts as a trusted third party. CSC is using GÉANT Trusted Certificate Service (TCS) as the authority to provide X.509 certificates for Finnish academic grid users. The certificates are requested through the Sectigo Certificate Manager that generates and downloads the certificate to your local computer. The certificates are valid for one year at a time.

Users log in to the Sectigo portal using their HAKA credentials (username and password in most cases). To be able to log in, your Identity Provider ( i.e. home university or institute) most must be compatible with eduGAIN service. If the name of your home institute is not recognized by the Sectigo Certificate Manager (English institute names are recognized) that means that your home institute is not compatible with the eduGAIN service.

Obtaining a grid certificate from GEANT

Please ONLY use your personal computer for obtaining your grid certificate as your grid certificate will be stored in the default download folder of the computer you are using for obtaining the certificate.

Here are step-by-step instructions for obtaining your own certificate:

  1. Go to

  2. Enter the name of your home institute (English institute names are recognized) and select it from the list below the text field.

  3. Login using your HAKA username and password. HAKA account is created by your home organization, not by CSC. Typically this is the user account you use to log in to local university network.

    If you get error message saying You are not allowed to self enroll, then your home organization is not yet compatible with the Sectigo Certificate Manager and you should contact local network administrators to fix this issue.

  4. In the Digital certificate enrollment page, check that your personal information is correct. In the Certificate Profile selection, choose: GÉANT IGTF-MICS Personal and Use Generate RSA option for the Private Key selection.
    Finally define and verify a password for your certificate and press submit button.

The PKCS12 formatted certificate is now exported to the download folder of your browser. Default name for the certificate is certs.p12

Installing certificate for FGCI use

Browsers are normally able to use PKCS12 certificates, but the ARC middleware uses PEM as the default certificate format. The following commands do PKCS12 to PEM  conversion on Linux machines. If you will use the grid tools on a different machine than that which your browser is on, you can transfer the certs.p12 file to that machine, and run the following commands there. It's suggested that you use a secure tool like scp to do this.

The PEM formatted certificate consists of two files: private key file (userkey.pem) and certificate file (usercert.pem). The certificate private key is created with the command:

openssl pkcs12 -nocerts -in certs.p12 -out userkey.pem

When executed, this command will first asks password for the cetrs.p12 file (the one you defined in the Sertigo portal) and then a password that will be assigned for the PEM formatted certificate (they can be the same). The user certificate file is created with the command :

openssl pkcs12 -clcerts -nokeys -in certs.p12 -out usercert.pem

The commands above should have created two files, usercert.pem and userkey.pem. To use the ARC middleware these two files should be moved into a .globus sub-directory under the user's home directory (note the dot as the first character of the directory name). If the .globus directory does not exist, it can be created with the command:

mkdir ~/.globus/

After this, the certificate files can be moved to the .globus directory with the commands:

cp usercert.pem ~/.globus/
cp userkey.pem ~/.globus/

Finally, make sure that the access permissions of the userkey.pem file are set up correctly. The command to ensure this is:

chmod 400 ~/.globus/userkey.pem