Digital Signatures

I’ve spoken about Certificate Authorities and Certificates already. Remember that Certificates include: a public key, the owner and a digital signature. Well you’ve probably asked “what is a digital signature” and how do you “digitally sign” a certificate?

A digital signature is basically some value, a checksum. It is a data value based on a block of data and a private key. The digital signature associates the data with the owner of a specific private key. You can be confident that the person indicated as the owner of a specific private key is not an imposter. You can safely open the email you received from the “certificated” owner then respond to that person, the owner, without fear or apprehension that the email will go to the wrong person. This also allows you to trust that the contents of the email were written and encrypted by the owner of the private key.

If you decrypt a message successfully with a particular public key – a key that was certified by means of a digitally signed certificate – then you can certain that it could have only been encrypted with the corresponding private key. Read the rest of this article>>

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