An Extended Validation Certificate (EV) is an X.509 public key certificate issued according to a specific set of identity verification criteria. These criteria require extensive verification of the requesting entity's identity by the certificate authority (CA) before a certificate is issued. Certificates issued by a CA under the EV guidelines are not structurally different from other certificates (and hence provide no stronger cryptography than other, cheaper certificates), but are designated with a CA-specific policy identifier so that EV-aware software can recognize them.
The criteria for issuing EV certificates are defined by the Guidelines for Extended Validation Certificates, currently (as of May 2012) at version 1.4. The guidelines are produced by the CA/Browser Forum, a voluntary organization whose members include leading CAs and vendors of Internet software, as well as representatives from the legal and audit professions.
Read more about Extended Validation Certificate: History, Motivation, Issuing Criteria, User Interface, Compatibility, Extended Validation Certificate Identification, Online Certificate Status Protocol
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