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HTTP Developer’s Handbook by Chris Shiflett

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Certificate Authorities

As it turns out, there is no easy solution to the problem of identification. In order to assure that a particular public key belongs to a particular person (or domain name, for example, httphandbook.org), a certificate authority (CA) is used. A certificate authority is a trusted third party that assures the identity of a public key’s owner with a digital certificate. A digital certificate is a document that declares that a particular public key is owned by a particular Web site (see Figure 18.3). The CA’s role is very similar to a notary whose responsibility is to ensure the correct identity of people signing a legal document.

Figure 18.3. A digital certificate assures the identity of a public key’s owner.

The digital ...

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