Certificate Assistant for Mac OS X

Well I had no idea this was coming stumbled across the feature when I was checking out the new Keychain Access app. In the Keychain Access menu, look for the Certificate Assistant menu item. As Apple states:

Apple – Mac OS X – 200+ New Features

Certificate Assistant
Easily request, issue and manage certificates for small workgroups with this utility that blends many functions of a commercial Certificate Authority at none of the cost.

Well, well, well. What have we here? This is a pleasant suprise – create my own little self-signed certificates and a CA using a Mac-based assistant? How easy!

Self-signed certs don’t do much good for public use of things like SSL or S/MIME, but can be very nice for testing or for securing private communications. An administrator could go and create their own CA, install the cert as valid on the machines in the local network, and issue people certificates for S/MIME on the LAN.

I’d been hoping for better X.509 tools for Mac since I started working at Xcert back in 1998. With the improved Keychain Access, Certificate Manager, client certificate authentication in Safari, and S/MIME built in to Mail and Entourage, it seems that things have finally arrived.