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:
“God gave the righteous man a certificate entitling him to food and raiment, but the unrighteous man found a facsimile of the same in Gods coffers, and appropriated it, and obtained food and raiment like the former. It is one of the most extensive systems of counterfeiting that the world has seen.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“In colonial America, the father was the primary parent. . . . Over the past two hundred years, each generation of fathers has had less authority than the last. . . . Masculinity ceased to be defined in terms of domestic involvement, skills at fathering and husbanding, but began to be defined in terms of making money. Men had to leave home to work. They stopped doing all the things they used to do.”
—Frank Pittman (20th century)