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Secure Programming Cookbook for C and C++ by Matt Messier, John Viega

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10.2. Obtaining a Certificate

Problem

You want an established PKI to issue a certificate to you.

Solution

Contact the CA that you wish to use. In this recipe, we focus on how to deal with VeriSign, which is the most popular CA. VeriSign sells several kinds of certificates from their web page (http://www.verisign.com).

In Recipe 10.3, we enumerate other CAs that have their root certificates in the popular browsers and thus are worthwhile to consider as alternatives.

Discussion

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 VeriSign is certainly not the only public CA, it is perhaps the most established one and offers the widest variety of certificates for a variety of uses. VeriSign’s offerings range from personal certificates for use with S/MIME to enterprise solutions that are more sophisticated. In this recipe, we’ll find out how to get three types of certificates: a personal certificate for S/MIME, a code-signing certificate for signing your software so that users can verify it came from you, and a certificate for securing your web site for applications such as e-commerce. Figure 10-4 illustrates the process of obtaining a certificate from a CA.

Figure 10-4. Obtaining a certificate from ...

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