Certificate Authority

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Certificate Authority

(cryptography, body)
(CA or "Trusted Third Party") An entity (typically a company) that issues digital certificates to other entities (organisations or individuals) to allow them to prove their identity to others. A Certificate Authority might be an external company such as VeriSign that offers digital certificate services or they might be an internal organisation such as a corporate MIS department. The Certificate Authority's chief function is to verify the identity of entities and issue digital certificates attesting to that identity.

The process uses public key cryptography to create a "network of trust". If I want to prove my identity to you, I ask a CA (who you trust to have verified my identity) to encrypt a hash of my signed key with their private key. Then you can use the CA's public key to decrypt the hash and compare it with a hash you calculate yourself. Hashes are used to decrease the amount of data that needs to be transmitted. The hash function must be cryptographically strong, e.g. MD5.

http://home.netscape.com/comprod/server_central/support/faq/certificate_faq.html#11.
References in periodicals archive ?
To mark the occasion, Secretary Jones presented VeriSign's president and CEO Stratton Sclavos with the certificate naming VeriSign as the state's first licensed Certification Authority and then "digitally signed" the certificate, signifying the first transaction conducted under California's new Digital Signature regulations.
VeriSign was the first Certification Authority to satisfy the Regulation's audit and compliance requirements," said Secretary of State Jones.
Digital signatures and identity credentials are the computerized equivalent of a person's own signature and passport, which in this case are maintained, managed and authenticated by the Certification Authority as a 'trusted third party'," explains Bernie Roemmele, CEO of CitX Corporation.
The function of a Certification Authority is similar to that of a passport office in that the authority certifies that the person is who he or she claims to be, through a set of authentication policies.
We are proud of this partnership with ChamberSign France, the only French certification authority with a European dimension," comments Philippe Cambriel, president EMEA, Axalto.
At that time, DST will have the opportunity to qualify as a fully certified External Certification Authority (ECA).
The heart of any PKI system is the Certification Authority or CA infrastructure of which GlobalSign has significant experience.
a Utah corporation with headquarters in Kaysville, Utah, announced today that the Utah Department of Commerce legally licensed ARCANVS as a Certification Authority under the Utah Digital Signature Act.
13 /PRNewswire/ -- Zions First National Bank ("Zions") today announced that it has received approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ("OCC") to establish an operating subsidiary that will act as a certification authority and repository for certificates used to verify digital signatures.
ARCANVS Becomes First PGP Certification Authority to Issue Licensed
It also is the standard against which it is currently possible to be certified by an external certification authority.

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