Thawte Consulting is a certificate authority (CA) for X.509 certificates. Thawte was founded in 1995 by Mark Shuttleworth in South Africa and is the fifth largest public CA on the Internet.
Thawte was originally run from Shuttleworth's parents' garage. Shuttleworth originally aimed to produce a secure server not fettered by the restrictions on the export of cryptography which had been imposed by the United States. The server, Sioux, was an adaptation[by whom?] of the Apache HTTP server; it was later integrated with the Stronghold web server as Thawte began to concentrate more on their certification activities.
In 1999 VeriSign acquired Thawte in a stock purchase from Shuttleworth for US$575 million. Both VeriSign and Thawte had certificates in the first Netscape browsers, and were thus "grandfathered" into all other web browsers. Before VeriSign's purchase, they each had about 50% of the market. VeriSign's certificate rollover was due to take place on 1 January 2000—an unfortunate choice considering the imminent Y2K bug. (Thawte had a similar rollover in July 1998.) The purchase of Thawte ensured there would be no business loss over Y2K.
Proceeds from the sale enabled Shuttleworth to become the second space tourist and to found the Ubuntu project.
In August 2010, Symantec acquired VeriSign's security business, including Thawte.
- Country: South Africa
- Telephone: +353 1 793 9144
- Fax: +27 21 819 2960