Public Key Cryptography

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Public key cryptography encompasses the verification process of the public key certificate holder's identity via a trusted certificate authority. This prevents an individual from issuing a public key certificate under someone else's name, and thus receiving encrypted information under a false pretense.

In a larger public key infrastructure, an individual's certificate authority signature may not be recognized by another key holder, due to the higher number of employees. To correct this, a certificate authority's public key might also be signed by a higher level certificate authority (a CA2) that would be recognized by a greater number of employees. In these environments, a complex hierarchy is also established, creating an intricate web of trust.

Automation and Public Key Cryptography

In these larger environments, the certificate authority hierarchy streamlines the process of information exchange by automating the distribution of public key certificates. This eliminates the need for excessive validation and documentation, as everything is then verified via a trusted third party.

By automating this system of encryption/decryption, public key cryptography provides a foundation for reliable online data exchange. The integrity, validity, and ownership of data are all cataloged and protected within this system. The successful implementation of public key cryptography determines the strength of the public key infrastructure.

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