What is Digital Certificate?
In the world of the internet, it is essential to protect your data. Making an online transaction with any merchant requires an ample amount of trust. That’s where cryptography comes into the picture. It is a method of protecting the information and communication using codes so that the only intended recipient can read it. The certificate is used as an identity document in cryptography. The certificate is also known as a public key certificate or an identity certificate. It is an electronic document used as proof of ownership of a public key.
Importance of Digital Certificate
The digital certificate is a part of big word Security. It has information about the key, the owner, and the digital signature of a third party entity that has verified the certificate. If the certificate is valid, the software verifying the certificate trusts the issuer and can be used as a key for communicating securely. Certificates are provided by the third party organizations know as Certificate Authorities (CA) like VeriSign, GeoTrust, and DigiCert. The common format for public-key certificates is defined by X.509.
- There are billions of emails, which are transferred over the web every day. A certificate is used as an attachment to the email for security purposes to verify the authenticity of the sender.
- For online banking, the digital certificate is an important variable of trust. It also ensures the protection of sensitive data.
- To void the threats of online fraud and identity theft, the CA has provided the digital certificate, which is reassurance for the millions of internet users and casual web surfers.
Why Do We Need Digital Certificate?
Digital certificates act as trust document. It states that you are the one who has transformed the information by digitally signing the information. It helps the recipient in identifying the authenticity of the sender.
The digital certificate can be used for securing email as well as web-based transactions or to identify other participants of the transactions. The Certificate proves the ownership of a domain name and establishes SSL/TLS encrypted secured sessions between the website and the user for the transaction. As a developer, you can use a digital certificate for the authorship of a code and can retain the integrity of the distributed software programs. The certificates can also be used for filing income tax returns, signing web forms, e-tendering documents, etc.
Servers and clients use the certificate issued by the Certificate Authorities. The certificate binds the public key to the person or to the server. After that, it validates the connection and prevents impersonation.
Below is the digital certificate of https://www.educba.com/ Just click on the padlock from the address bar of your web browser > Certificate, and it will open the certificate popup.
Below is the screenshot of the trusted Digital Certificates added to my browser:
To view in your chrome browser, Open settings > Advanced > Manage Certificates.
It will open a popup choose Intermediate Certification Authorities tab and Trusted root Authorities tab to view the CA list.
Benefits of Digital Certificate
- With a digital certificate, the authentication is privacy
- Encrypting the data certificates protect your private information and prevent it to be seen by the unintended recipient.
- The digital certificate systems are also user-friendly, and they usually work automatically. They require minimal action or involvement from senders or recipients.
- According to Microsoft, certificate servers are easier to manage than other certificate authorities or systems used for encryption.
Types of Digital Certificates
There are three types of certificates:
1. Domain Validated (DV SSL): This kind of certificate offers the least assurance about the owner of the certificate. It only demonstrates that the owner has the right to use the domain name. This type of certificate does not provide a guaranty who that entity is.
2. Organization Validated (OV SSL): This kind of certificate provides some extra assurances about the owner of the certificate; Apart from the right to use the domain, applicants go through the additional confirmation for their ownership of the domain.
3. Extended Validation (EV SSL): This type of certificate is issued to the owner only after he/she is able to prove his/her identity to the satisfaction of the Certificate. The screening process includes verification about the existence of the applicant, verifying that his/her identity matches the official records, verifying that the applicant is authorized to use the domain and also confirm that the owner of the domain has authorized the issuance of the certificate.
In addition to the above-mentioned types, there are other types of certificates used for different purposes:
- Email Certificate
- Code Signing Certificate
- Qualified Certificate
- Root Certificate
- Intermediate Certificate
- Self-Signed Certificate
We know now why Digital Certificate is important and what are the benefits. A genuine business will always want its website on a secure layer. What could be more important for a user knowing that his/her data will be safe and will not be misused?
This has been a guide for What is Digital Certificate?. Here we have discussed what is digital certificates, the contents of Digital certificates and their types. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more-