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(Public Key Infrastructure) A framework for creating a secure method for exchanging information based on public key cryptography. The foundation of a PKI is the certificate authority (CA), which issues digital certificates that authenticate the identity of organizations and individuals over a public system such as the Internet. The certificates are also used to sign messages (see code signing), which ensures that messages have not been tampered with. For more on how certificates and public keys are used, see digital certificate.

In-house PKIs
A PKI can also be implemented by an enterprise for internal use to authenticate employees accessing the network. In this case, the enterprise is its own certificate authority (CA). For details on the public key system, see cryptography.

Managing the Root Key
The root key is the public/private key pair of the certificate authority. If the private part of that root key is ever discovered, all the certificates issued under that key pair are compromised. Creating and keeping the private key very private is critical.

All Encompassing
The PKI establishes the encryption algorithms, levels of security and distribution policy to users. The PKI embraces all the software (browsers, email programs, etc.) used to support the process by examining and validating the certificates and signed messages. See digital certificate, digital signature, root key, web of trust and DST.

Keeping the Root Key Secure
Gemalto's Luna is a line of hardware security module (HSM) products that generate the root key in a PKI system and keep the private key secure. (Image courtesy of Gemalto NV,
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References in periodicals archive ?
PKI is a secure way to confirm the identity of the visa sponsor or his agent.
DigiCert is the world's provider of scalable TLS/SSL, PKI solutions for identity and encryption.
the integrated infrastructure for PKI in accordance with the eTransactions law
The PKI people also met the District Police Officer Babar Bakht Qureshi and told him that if their demands were not granted they would provincialize their protest and the Punjab would face law and order situation.
KMG EP on July 5, 2006, bought from CNPC a 33% share in PKI. It said it paid $55 (43) a share for the stake in Canada-based PKI but gave no total for the deal.
Chapter two of the book has quite a lot of discussions on attempts made by the PKI to revise the story of the struggle over power in East Java.
For the previous years, however, the refinery could not pay for the crude oil supplied by Hurricane (PKI), and a resultant cash-flow crisis nearly bankrupted the Canadian company in 1999.
To meet CSP licensing guidelines, Al Hilal Bank contracted an external third party auditor, E-Hosting Datafort, to assess the bank's PKI infrastructure and report their findings to the TRA.
The PKI agreement will cover the design, implementation and operation of all required policies, regulations and processes to establish an infrastructure of trust which will assist the public and private sector in enabling digital transactions and streamlining the e-government services.