A digital certificate is data that ties specific information to a specific person and is used for many purposes. This data can be encryption keys, public keys, email addresses, or anything else that could be useful in identifying you over the internet. The certificate uses the idea of a third-party authority to validate your information before using it.
Here’s five things you need to know about digital certificates.
#1 Digital certificates are not the same as digital signatures
Digital certificates and digital signatures are not the same thing.
Digital certificates use a third-party authority to validate your information, while digital signatures actually encrypt your data.
The certificate is used for authentication and encryption and proves you’re who you say you are when receiving information over the internet, while a signature is meant to prove that what you send is original and hasn’t been tampered with.
#2 Certificates can be used for encryption, authentication, or both
Digital certificates aren’t always just one thing.
You can use them for encryption, authentication, or both.
Encryption is when you scramble data so that it’s unreadable by anyone but the person who has the key to unscramble it. Authentication is when you use two forms of identification, like a driver’s license and your birth certificate to prove who you are.
#3 You can use certificates to sign and encrypt email messages
You can also use digital certificates for signing and encryption.
That means that if someone wanted to send an important email message, you could sign it using your certificate, so the receiver would know that it’s authentic.
The message wouldn’t be readable by anyone but the person who received it unless they had your public key to decrypt it.
#4 There are different types of certificates – SSL/TLS, Code Signing Certificates, EV Certificates
There are different types of certificates you can use.
The most widely-used ones are SSL/TLS, Code Signing Certificates, and EV Certificates.
SSL/TLS certificates are used for HTTPS protection on websites to encrypt web traffic so that only the intended person could read it.
This is the same type of certificate used to protect the data sent to and from your email accounts.
Code Signing Certificates are used to verify that a program hasn’t been tampered with, so you know it’s safe when you download and install it.
It also protects the source of any software in case someone tries to steal and sell it as their own.
EV certificates, or Extended Validation Certificates, are the most secure type for businesses and individuals who want to protect their identity online because they require stringent validation.
They’re the only certificates that display a company’s name in its web browser address bar, so people can see who you are and know that your information is authentic.
An x.509 certificate is a digital document used for securing data.
It ties specific information to a specific person and is used for many purposes, including encryption, authentication, and signing in order to prove that the information you’re sending isn’t tampered with.
#5 A certificate is valid for a certain period of time – usually one year
Digital certificates are valid for a set amount of time before you have to renew them, usually about a year.
This gives you enough time to stay safe while protecting your digital information and identity without having to do it constantly.
Digital certificates are popular in today’s technological world, which is why it’s important to know what they are and how you can use them.
Now that you know the basics about certificates, hopefully your digital life will be more secure than ever before.