Certificate Authority

In cryptography, certificate authority, or certification authority, (CA) is an entity that issues digital certificates. The digital certificate certifies the ownership of a public key by the named subject of the certificate. This allows others (relying parties) to rely upon signatures or assertions made by the private key that corresponds to the public key that is certified. In this model of trust relationships, a CA is a trusted third party that is trusted by both the subject (owner) of the certificate and the party relying upon the certificate. CAs are characteristic of many public key infrastructure (PKI) schemes.

Commercial CAs charge to issue certificates that will automatically be trusted by most web browsers (Mozilla maintains a list of at least 36 trusted root CAs, though multiple commercial CAs or their resellers may share the same trusted root). The number of web browsers and other devices and applications that trust a particular certificate authority is referred to as ubiquity.

Aside from commercial CAs, some providers issue digital certificates to the public at no cost. Large institutions or government entities may have their own CAs.

Read more about Certificate Authority:  Domain Validation, Issuing A Certificate, Example, Subversion of CA, Security, Providers, Open Source Implementations

Famous quotes containing the words certificate and/or authority:

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    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

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    John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908)