SSL: Signed Certificate

SSL - Signed Certificate

 

The certificate is identical to the certificate request with the addition of the certificate authority’s signature.  The is composed of the endpoint’s distinguished name,  public key and signature. The distinguished name contains details about the certificate bearer including country, state or province, locality, details about the entity the certificate represents, and often an email to contact if there are problems. The public key is needed later to allow the SSL handshake to be performed securely. The signature is generated by digesting the entire certificate and encrypting the digest with the certificate authority’s public key.  The signature ensures the certificate has not been modified since signing and that it was actually signed by the certificate authority.  Thus, certificates provide a measure of trust when signed by a legitimate certificate authority.

 

SSL: Certificate Request

SSL - Certificate RequestThe certificate request is composed of the endpoint’s distinguished name and public key. The distinguished name contains details about the certificate bearer including country, state or province, locality, details about the entity the certificate represents, and often an email to contact if there are problems. The public key is needed later in the signed certificate to allow the SSL handshake to be performed securely.

 

SSL – Overview

SSL - Secure Communication

The Secure Socket Layer (SSL), also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS), is one of the fundamental technologies supporting the web today.  SSL/TLS provides the security needed to keep information confidential that crosses the Internet, verify the identity of the other machine, and ensure the that information isn’t tampered in transit through the world wide web.  The first step in the process is for every server to get a certificate from a reputable certificate authority that  proves it’s identity.  Clients may also be issued identifying certificates to ensure two-way identification.  When two devices want to communicate, they perform an exchange of information (handshake) that helps establish their identities and set up a secured connection. To establish trust, they send their certificates to one another and by using the trusted certificate authority’s own certificate the can verify the identity of the other machine.  Clients are not normally required to provide a certificate, however servers must provide a certificate.  Once the handshake is complete and they trust each other, they may begin communicating data  between them without fear of eavesdropping or tampering.