glossary of SSL-related terms
data record used for authenticating network entities such as a
server or a client. A certificate contains X.509 information pieces
about its owner (called the subject) and the signing
(called the issuer), plus the owners public key and the
signature made by the CA. Network entities verify these signatures
using CA certificates.
Certification) Authority (CA)
trusted third party whose purpose is to sign certificates for
network entities it has authenticated using secure means. Other
network entities can check the signature to verify that a CA has
authenticated the bearer of a certificate.
Signing Request (CSR)
unsigned certificate for submission to a
which signs it with the Private
of their CA Certificate
Once the CSR is signed, it becomes a real certificate.
algorithm or system for data encryption. Examples are DES, IDEA,
Apache configuration directives are in the HTTPD.CONF file.
encrypted text block that validates a certificate or other file. A
creates a signature by generating a hash of the
embedded in a Certificate
then encrypting the hash with its own Private
Only the CAs public key can decrypt the signature, verifying
that the CA has authenticated the network entity that owns the
DN is a series of name-value pairs, such as
that uniquely identifies the certificate
hostname and a domain name that can resolve to an IP address (for
value created mathematically to identify data uniquely.
hash of a message, which can be used to verify that the contents of
the message have not been altered in transit. This principal is
employed in digital signatures.
Open Source toolkit for enabling OpenSSL on Apache web server; see
Open Source toolkit for SSL/TLS; see
word or phrase that protects private key files. It prevents
unauthorized users from encrypting them. Usually its just the
secret encryption/decryption key used for
standard, predating S/MIME, for encrypting e-mail and authenticating senders.
secret key in a Public
system, used to decrypt incoming messages and sign outgoing ones.
publically available key in a Public
system, used to encrypt messages bound for its owner and to decrypt
signatures made by its owner.
study and application of asymmetric encryption systems, which use
one key for encryption and another for decryption. A corresponding
pair of such keys constitutes a key pair. Also called Asymmetric Crypography.
Sockets Layer (SSL)
protocol created by Netscape Communications Corporation for general
communication authentication and encryption over TCP/IP networks. The
most popular usage is
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) using SSL.
original SSL/TLS implementation library developed by Eric A. Young.
study and application of
that use a single secret key for both encryption and decryption operations.
Layer Security (TLS)
successor protocol to SSL, created by the Internet Engineering Task
Force (IETF) for general communication authentication and encryption
over TCP/IP networks. TLS version 1 and is nearly identical with SSL
most widely used standard for digital certificates. It is
recommended by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) and
is used for SSL/TLS authentication.