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Network Security with OpenSSL by Pravir Chandra, Matt Messier, John Viega

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Obtaining a Certificate

Before obtaining a certificate, you first need to determine what purpose the certificate will serve. There are many different types of certificates offered by a variety of CAs, both public and private. For the purposes of this discussion, we will investigate what is necessary to obtain three different types of certificates from a public CA. While it is certainly not the only public CA, we've chosen VeriSign as the CA that we'll obtain a certificate from because it is perhaps the most established public CA and offers the widest variety of certificates for a variety of uses.

As we mentioned, there are many different types of certificates, each used for different purposes. VeriSign's offerings range from personal certificates for use with S/MIME to enterprise solutions that are more sophisticated. We'll find out how to get a personal certificate for S/MIME, a code-signing certificate for signing your software so that users can verify that it came from you, and a certificate for securing your web site for applications such as e-commerce.

Personal Certificates

S/MIME email relies on personal certificates (as opposed to certificates granted to an organization), which VeriSign calls a Class 1 Digital ID . It is the easiest kind of certificate to obtain, and is available for a modest price, but it is limited to email security only. You can get a Class 1 Digital ID that works with Netscape Messenger, or you can get one intended to work with Microsoft Outlook express. ...

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