LankaClear, the operator of LankaPay – Sri Lanka’s National Payment Network, recently held the Root Key Ceremony of its security arm – LankaSign, the only commercially operating PKI based Certification Service Provider (CSP) in the country. In keeping with the latest international security standards and technology (ie Web trust 2.0), LankaSign upgraded its systems and the recently concluded root key ceremony was a key activity of this exercise. LankaSign is now capable of issuing digital certificates in real time to any automated system including Android, iOS and other Smart mobile devices.
The ceremony had representation of a panel of high profile delegates including Director – Payments and Settlements of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka; Prof. Gihan Dias, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa; Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure; Superintendent of Sri Lanka Customs; Secretary General – Sri Lanka Banks’ Association; Director / Legal Advisor – Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA); Director, Operations – Sri Lanka CERT; Chief Executive Officer – TechCERT; Chairman, GM /CEO and DGM – IT & Operations of LankaClear along with Mr. Ravi Molligoda, – Attorney at Law and an expert in banking related legal matters and Mrs. C. Salgado – Company Secretory of LankaClear.
Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Secretary to the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, congratulating on the successful completion of ‘LankaSign’ Root Key Ceremony, underscored the significance of the event from a holistic perspective. “With the rise of cyber security threats, economies around the world have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. At the same time, as we are moving towards a digital economy, we are witnessing an increase in the number of transactions taking place via electronic platforms. Therefore, in order to build public trust and confidence on electronic transactions, digital security solutions such as ‘LankaSign’ have a pivotal role to play. Successful conclusion of LankaSign Root Key Ceremony in line with the international standards is indeed commendable and the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure is pleased to be a witness to this exercise.”
A root key ceremony is a procedure where a unique pair of public and private root keys are generated in a secure manner in the presence of individuals as key witnesses who represent various industries. It is a statutory requirement where the entire system architecture of a CSP is reviewed by a panel of experts to ensure its integrity and good governance. The above witnesses to this ceremony was able to observe the stringent security procedures that have been put in place by LankaSign adhering to international standards and utilizing a world class technology back-end.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Anil Amarasuriya, Chairman LankaClear stated “As Sri Lanka’s National Payment Network, we find security to be fundamental to all our operations. The root key ceremony of LankaSign is of great significance as it gives an independent review and assurance of the robustness of our public key infrastructure, which has a substantial impact on the stability of entire banking and financial system. Therefore, we are indeed proud to have successfully completed this exercise which repose greater confidence on our stakeholders on our services”
Emphasizing the important role of digital certificates in the financial sector, Mr. Channa de Silva, GM/CEO of LankaClear stated “As the operator of LankaPay, country’s national payment network, we provide critical backbone infrastructure for the entire financial sector in Sri Lanka. In order for general public to adopt electronic transactions, it is critical to gain their trust in order to move them away from cash based transactions. LankaClear understands the importance of adhering to the highest levels of international security standards as we are fully committed to our brand promise ‘Your Trusted Payment Network’. In line with this, we have established LankaSign as Sri Lanka’s only commercially operating CSP to offer digital certificates initially to the financial sector. However, LankaClear has subsequently provided digital certificates to not only all banks and non-banking financial institutions in the country, but also 100+ other organizations to facilitate secure and authenticated electronic transactions. Theretofore, successfully completing LankaSign Root Key Ceremony in the presence of a high profile independent panel of witnesses is a testament to our commitment towards maintaining excellence in the security sphere.”
Set up in 2009 in accordance of the Electronic Transactions Act No. 19 of 2006, LankaSign plays a pivotal role in catering to the public key infrastructure (PKI) requirements of the banking and financial sector in Sri Lanka. In 2015, LankaSign became the first CSP to be certified with the ISO 27001:2013 standard. Currently, it caters to PKI requirements of 44 banking and financial sector organizations including the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, over 100 import and export organizations via Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber of Exporters as well as the Colombo Stock Exchange with LankaSign Digital Certificates.
As a key resource person involved in the establishment of several important acts to facilitate electronic transactions, Mr. Jayantha Fernando – Director / Legal Advisor – ICTA expressing his views at the occasion stated “I thank the Chairman and Board of LankaClear for inviting me to be a witness at the ‘LankaSign’ Root Key Ceremony. I am impressed by the state of the art technology that has recently been introduced as part of the upgrade to the ‘LankaSign’ infrastructure, which was originally supported and jointly facilitated by CBSL and ICTA consequent to the enactment of the Electronic Transactions Act. This is a timely intervention on the part of LankaClear at a time when the Government of Sri Lanka has proposed new amendments to the Electronic Transactions Act. With this amendment to the Act, Sri Lanka will have the necessary legislation in place to facilitate cross-border digital commerce based on standards prescribed by the UN Electronic Communications Convention. It will also provide greater legal validity for electronic transactions. In this context I am glad to see the efforts made by ‘LankaClear’ to meet the future demands of the industry”.
The Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill, recently approved by parliament, would be a major boost for commerce, business and trade in Sri Lanka moving the country towards a digital era. This is the first amendment to the Electronic Transactions Act. No. 19 of 2006. The amendment ensures greater legal certainty for e-commerce and e-business providers who wish to use the Sri Lankan law as the applicable law and ensure international validity for electronic contracts. The role of LankaSign, established under the above act, would now be even more critical to provide essential security infrastructure to facilitate all electronic transactions in the country.
Mr. Rohana Palliyaguru, Director, Operations – Sri Lanka CERT stated “I would like to congratulate LankaClear for the facilitation of secured electronic transactions by conducting the root key ceremony in a secure manner, which are in line with international standards. With the recent amendments to the Electronics Transactions Act, Sri Lanka will be able to move to the next era of e-Commerce and e-Business ensuring greater legal certainty for electronic transactions.”
Mr. Dileepa Lathsara, CEO of TechCERT who was responsible in assisting LankaSign to setup the necessary security infrastructure backend stated “The trend has been for organizations to shift their entire services online, with the widespread availability of internet technologies to the Sri Lankan consumers. The main set of technologies that are used in providing identity and trust services in the online world is based on the digital certificates and PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). As always, being a trendsetter, LankaClear setup the first CSP in Sri Lanka, namely LankaSign in 2009 in order to facilitate this need. As the total solution implementation partner of LankaSign, TechCERT is delighted to be part of this upgrade of LankaSign and its root key ceremony. Finally conducting a root key ceremony of this nature by LankaSign, demonstrates its commitment towards the high security standards.”