Important Note: This service
has been superseded by the Public Key Infrastructure project. Please refer to
our PKI webpage for
What is Digital Certificate?
Digital Certificates (or sometimes called
Digital IDs) are the electronic counterparts to driver licenses or identity
cards. You can present a digital certificate electronically
to prove your identity in an electronic message or your right to access
information or services available online on the Internet.
A Certificate Authority (CA) "certifies"
people and organizations on the Internet. It does this by issuing "client"
certificates to individuals, and "server" certificates to the Internet
servers maintained by organizations. Certificates are statements
by the CA that the bearers of the certificates are actually who or what
they claim to be.
The most common use of a digital certificate
is to verify that a user sending an electronic mail message is who he or
she claims to be, or authenticating a World Wide Web services without the
need of user name and password. In the electronic commerce area,
a new emerging standard SET
(Secure Electronic Transaction) co-developed by Visa
and MasterCard, which
safeguards credit card purchases made over open network such as Internet,
is also based on the digital certificate technology.
The following sites describe digital certificate
in more depth, covering both technical information and its implication
in electronic commerce applications.