Chapter 26

Public Key Infrastructure

Terence Spies, Voltage Security, Inc.

The ability to create, manipulate, and share digital documents has created a host of new applications (email, word processing, ecommerce Web sites), but it also created a new set of problems—namely how to protect the privacy and integrity of digital documents when they’re stored and transmitted. The invention of public key cryptography in the 1970s1—most important, the ability to encrypt data without a shared key and the ability to “sign” data, ensuring its origin and integrity—pointed the way to a solution to those problems. Though these operations are quite conceptually simple, they both rely on the ability to bind a public key (which is typically a large mathematical ...

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