What is a PKI certificate?

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A PKI certificate is a digitally signed document that can be comparable with a physical identity card or a passport used in the analog world. A PKI certificate is a trusted digital identity. It is used to identify and authenticate users, servers or things when communicating over untrusted networks. A PKI certificate is also called a digital certificate.

PKI certificates use private and public key encryption, where the public key is stored in the certificate together with information about the owner and some administrative data. The certificate is signed by the issuing CA and the signature is attached in the certificate. X.509 is the standard for the most commonly used digital certificate formats.

The purpose of PKI certificates is to create a secure digital world where each certificate works as gatekeeper for secure sharing of digital information.

Different types of PKI and digital certificates include:

  • SSL certificates
  • Code signing certificates
  • Email signing certificates
  • IoT certificates
  • Personal authentication certificates

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