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Inside Windows® Server 2003 by William Boswell

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Certificate Management

A certificate is a data structure that contains a key, either public or private, along with information about the key and validation data for the key's issuer. If you build a mental picture of a valuable diamond accompanied by a gemologist's report and a certified pedigree with embossed signatures, you have a good idea of how a certificate is used.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has promulgated a standard, X.509, that defines the content and structure of PKCS certificates. Figure 17.6 shows an example X.509 certificate.

Figure 17.6. Contents of X.509 public key certificate.

There are other certificate types ...

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