Public/Private Key Pairs

A cryptographic technique, namely digital signing, is used to enforce this protection of the publisher's namespace. At the heart of the implementation are two related sets of binary data known as the public and private keys. As the names suggest, the public key may be freely distributed, whereas the private key is a secret known only to the publisher.

The keys are used as input to encryption and decryption algorithms—data encrypted via the public key can only be decrypted via the private key and vice versa (as illustrated in Figure 9.3). The RSA digital signing algorithm is used for this purpose.

Figure 9.3. Public/private key pairs and algorithms.

The public key is used to represent the publisher's identity. In textual ...

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