A digital certificate, also referred to as a public key certificate, serves the purpose of securely associating ownership of a public key with its rightful owner. These certificates facilitate the sharing of public keys for encryption and authentication purposes.
Each digital certificate contains the certified public key, essential details about the key’s owner, relevant metadata, and a digital signature created by the certificate issuer.
The public key infrastructure (PKI) is responsible for the distribution, authentication, and revocation of digital certificates, playing a vital role in managing and verifying public keys.
Digital certificates find application in various domains:
- Credit and debit cards utilize chip-embedded digital certificates to establish secure and authentic transactions with merchants and banks.
- Digital payment companies rely on digital certificates to authenticate their automated teller machines, kiosks, and point-of-sale equipment when connecting to a central server in their data center.
- Websites employ digital certificates for domain validation, proving their trustworthiness and authenticity to users.
- Secure email communication utilizes digital certificates to verify the identity of senders and recipients and allows for electronic document signing.
- Computer hardware manufacturers embed digital certificates into cable modems to prevent broadband service theft through device cloning.
In response to increasing cyberthreats, many companies consider attaching digital certificates to all IoT devices operating at the edge and within their enterprises. This measure aims to safeguard against cyberthreats and protect valuable intellectual property.
Additionally, digital certificates play a crucial role in preventing chargeback fraud in e-commerce transactions. When customers make online purchases using credit or debit cards, the chip-embedded digital certificates enable secure communication between merchants and financial institutions. This process ensures that the transactions are authenticated, reducing the risk of fraudulent chargebacks and providing a more reliable and trustworthy shopping experience for consumers and businesses alike.
Written by Andrii Vovk