In computer forensics, a digital certificate also called an encryption certificate or key is a simple electronic document used to prove the authenticity of a key or digital signature. Digital certificates are commonly issued by email authentication or through online control. They usually have the key matching the public key that they are encrypted with. This way, if someone were to attempt to forge your digital signature, they would not be able to duplicate or break the encryption. However, if they were able to match your key and digital certificate, then they could see the contents of the digital signature.
For many years, keys and digital certificates have been used in the secure lock boxes at banks, brokerage houses, and other financial institutions. In fact, you may have a virtual key or virtual certificate in your email account. It is tied to your online banking account. When you log into your account, the bank verifies the digital signature on the back of your digitally signed document, and the transaction is authorized. These types of digital certificates are often referred to as server authentication or password authentication. A server is a computer where multiple users access the server for various purposes.
As mentioned, digital certificates are often used as proof of identity or to protect your privacy. One example is when you submit your Social Security number or credit card information to apply for employment, you are asked for digital certification. The purpose is to prevent others from being able to read your sensitive information. Many companies now use Digital Certification for employee security.
Another example is when you go to a shopping mall, and when you enter your credit card information, the wireless scanner can match your signature to verify that you are who you say you are. The scanners are equipped with digital certification print outs that match your signature. You must be 18 years of age or older to have a valid digital certificate. Some places require that your signature be a specific length. The mall may also require that you hand them your public keys to get your digital certification.
Most places use digital certificates to prove that the individual knows the product or service that is being offered. This can be for a vendor, or in the case of electronics, it may be for a service. They are often used to give an employee the certificate that they are registered with the company. This helps prevent the employee from simply walking out, claiming that they are not registered, or conning them out of their money by giving them a fake certification. Digital certifications are also frequently used by government agencies such as the FDA.
Keys are the most common form of a digital certificate. You can create your own digital certification key using public-key infrastructure (PKI). An example of a PKI system is the Secure Access Server (SAS), which stores digital certificates and digital signature. Digital certificates are also called digital signatures. In a PKI system, a third party, called the Certificate Authority, grants digital certificates to individuals. Anyone who requests a copy of these keys needs to have special authorization by the CA – but how do you get a copy of a digital certification?
Public-key infrastructure is the way that many people get access to digital certificates. The certificates that are associated with a particular public key usually have been stored in databases called key directories. A certificate authority stores digital certificates and maintains a database of them. You can request a copy of any public keys on a secured website. You will need the public keys of the relevant organizations that have issued the certifications. Many sites offer this service for a small fee.
There is another way that you can get your own set of digital certificates. If you own hardware that already has a trusted certification issuer then you can request their private keys. The certificate authority stores these keys on their website as a way of making it easier for you to get a replacement if you experience a problem with one of the certificates. To get a copy of a certificate from the CA, you will usually need to contact them and ask for a request form. They will supply you with the relevant forms that you need to fill out to obtain the keys. You can usually get a temporary certificate once you have established an account with them.