Public-Key Infrastructure

What Is a Public-Key Infrastructure?

A public-key infrastructure (PKI) is a framework that encompasses tools and technologies for creating and managing public keys used in encryption, ensuring secure communication over the internet.

PKI is crucial in securing web traffic by being integrated into modern web browsers, providing security for users’ online activities.

Organizations widely use it to protect internal communications and ensure the security of connected devices.

Enhancing Digital Trust

PKI technology uses cryptographic keys that authenticate and encrypt users and devices in the digital environment.

PKI incorporates a trusted third party that certifies the authentication through digital signatures to establish the authenticity of a specific key associated with a user or device.

This key serves as the user’s or device’s digital identity on the network.

Most computers and web browsers inherently trust various certificate authorities responsible for issuing and managing certificates used in PKI.

Securing Digital Interactions

The foundation of a public-key infrastructure is digital signature technology, which utilizes public-key cryptography to generate a secret key unique to each entity.

This secret key is used for signing purposes and is known only to the entity.

The corresponding public key, derived from the private key, is made publicly accessible and is typically included in a certificate document.

A certificate authority (CA) is a trusted third party that signs the document associating the key with the device or user.

The CA possesses a cryptographic key, known as certificate, used to sign these documents.

Ensuring Digital Security

PKI enables secure and trustworthy online communication through encryption and identity verification.

PKI operates based on two main components: certificates and keys.

Keys are numerical sequences used for encrypting data, with each message element being encrypted using the key.

Public keys are freely available and used to encrypt messages sent to a recipient, while the recipient uses private keys to decrypt the messages.

Establishing the link between public and private keys involves complex mathematical calculations, making it extremely difficult to determine the private key using only the public key.

Verifying Identity and Authenticity

Certificates serve to verify the identity of the person or device with which communication is intended.

The validity of a certificate is determined by associating it with the correct device or entity, and its authenticity can be verified through a system that identifies genuine certificates.