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Email Certificates.

June 21, 2005

I’ve been using Thawte digital signatures on my email for a couple of years now. Mainly to see how hard it is to use them and whether they could in any way be described as ready for general use yet. Since they are free I had nothing to loose. Well the answer is that if you use Mozilla then using them is a piece of cake. If you use IE and Outlook, I just don’t care, but if you like me have switched to FireFox and thunderbird they should be simple.

When I started it was simple as I just imported the certificates from my old Mozilla profile into both firefox and Thunderbird and all was well. My email was signed most people did not notice or care, others noticed and figured it must be a badge of geekdom of no importance. Then a few people complained that Outlook could not open the attachments. Yes people do try and open random attachments still even with all these Trojans winging around the net. To those I offered Thunderbird.

However while I as camping, my certificates ran out so I had to get some new ones. (Electronic certificates have a limited life, which in the case of the free certificates for email from Thawte last just one year). Easy. Just go to the Thawte web page get some new certs for all the email address I use press the down load button and they are installed in your browser. No problem. Except now the mail reader and browser are not the same thing at all. So there is an extra couple of steps.

You have to export the certificates from FireFox (Edit->Preferences->Advanced->Security->View Certificates->Your Certificates) if you have succeeded in installing the certificates they should be listed there. You need to back them up to a file. Hit “Backup All” and save them all to a file (you can just do a few if you want) you will need your security device password and it will insist on encrypting them so get yourself a nice complex password, you only have to remember it a few minutes.

Then import the certificates into Thunderbird (Edit->Preferences->Security->View Certificates), hit the Import button, again you will need your security device password and then enter the password you set above, and in come those certificates.

Now what would be cool would be to be able to do this straight from FireFox, and Export to Thunderbird option.

Tags: FireFox, Thunderbird, certificates


From → General

  1. I simply made a symlink from ~/.thunderbird/blah-de-blah/key3.db to ~/.mozilla/firefox/default.blah-de-blah/key3.db
    and ditto for cert8.db.

  2. Nice solution as long as the two projects have an agreement to keep the formats the same. If that was the case they should have stored the certs in the same place.I feel a bug to log here

  3. Thanks Chris for these instructions. On the version of Thunderbird I was using the import feature was under ‘Tools -> Account Settings -> Security -> Manage Certificates’.

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