LinuxPlanet: Invisibly Protecting Your Digital Assets with Public Key Infrastructure
Jun 23, 2003, 20:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Beth Cohen)
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"Your company is negotiating a big deal with a partner, making
you a bit nervous about the security of exchanging documents via
email. There is a non-disclosure agreement in place, but you'd like
to be absolutely certain that only the recipients can see the plans
for your company's new product initiative. When the partner emails
their agreement to the final version of the proposed deal, you also
want to be able to prove absolutely that the email really is from
them. Is there a proven technology that can fulfill both needs?
"Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) can handle these requirements
and more. You may already be using PKI without knowing it if you
have relied on certificates or 'certs' to identify a web server or
to confirm the identity of external websites. It is a critical
technology for the Internet and is used in applications as diverse
as e-commerce and VPNs. Let's explore the world of PKI cryptography
to learn about keys, signatures, and certificates, and to see how
PKI can benefit you and protect your company's valuable digital
"You don't need to be an expert in encryption to deploy PKI in
your operation, but there are a few key concepts and components to
understand. PKI is a powerful technology that employs cryptography
to provide two important capabilities, privacy and authentication.
The cryptographic procedures, or algorithms, use two keys to
encrypt information. This is called asymmetric cryptography.
Compared with conventional (symmetric) cryptography, which uses
only one key, it is easier to distribute keys, making PKI much
simpler and more practical to deploy..."