How PKI Helps in Securing Everything You Deal with Online?

Juliet D'cruz

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Today in this modern era, computer data security is the first concern of every user. To protect against data theft, it is important to encrypt it so that those who are authorized to manipulate it can access it. Perhaps the most widely used method of cryptography is public key cryptography. And the set of technical solutions based on this method is called public key infrastructure or PKI (public key infrastructure).

You might be wondering what is PKI and how it is securing online things. The role of PKI is to issue digital certificates. These allow the completion of cryptographic operations such as encryption and digital signature. These functions are used during electronic transactions to guarantee confidentiality, authentication, integrity, and non-redemption.

What do you mean by PKI Certificates?

The application of strict identity verification procedures and the implementation of reliable cryptographic solutions are prerequisites for the production and management of electronic certificates. This is why PKI or major management infrastructure is also usually made up of a certification authority, a registration authority, a depository authority.

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Types of PKI Certificates:

Certification Authority.

The Certification Authority (or CA) is the decision making and trust component in the certification process. This guarantees the application of the organization’s certification policy. He signs certificate requests and revocation lists. Verifying his signature electronically guarantees the applicant’s identification with a public key. The main role of this authority is to manage the certificate lifecycle. Thus, apart from issuing an electronic certificate, it determines its lifetime and its expulsion.

Registration Authority.

As a registration authority (or RA), it constitutes the interface between the user and the certification authority. It is responsible for identifying with certain applicants or holders of certificates and ensuring that barriers related to the use of the certificate are met.

In addition, user requests are processed by the registration authority according to the authentication policy, namely that a set of rules are observed when establishing customized services for certain types of applications. This set of rules is identified by a unique alphanumeric identifier according to the ISO registration standard. The RA also has the role of retrieving the public key of the requestor.

Depository Authority.

As the Depository Authority, its job is to store a digital certificate. It centralizes and organizes the collection of certificates. In addition, it also manages the list of expired or revoked certificates and makes public key certificates issued by the certification authority available to all users.

Escrow Authorization.

Another component of PKI is escrow authorization. Although it is less known, however it plays a larger role namely the secure storage of encryption keys created by registration authorities to eventually restore them.

How does PKI secure the communication?

PKI follow these two steps to protect the communications between the parties:

Authentication — By this process PKI make sure that the person with whom you are communicate with is legitimate.

Encryption — By this PKI ensures that no one can see the messages that has been exchanged between you and the other person with whom you are chatting.

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