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A fundamental issue of securing mobile ad-hoc networks is to ensure mobile nodes can authenticate each other. Because of its strength and efficiency, a public key and digital signature system is an ideal building block to construct the authentication service. Although this is already mature in Internet applications, providing public key based authentication is still very challenging in mobile ad-hoc networks because the entire network is world-accessible via the wireless channel, the environment is highly volatile and infrastructure-less and there is lack of trust in the system. We propose a locality driven key management architecture that achieves robust key authentication and facilitates timely and efficient establishment of distributed trust. The architecture reflects our application oriented view of MANET and is based on threshold cryptography to achieve high fault tolerance against network partition and malicious nodes. On top of it, we design distributed trust protocols to help set up trust relations on-the-fly. To verify the concept and the design, we implement the prototype and simulate our solution in a variety of scenarios.