Introduction to PKIs & CAs

In order to be trusted, the Internet must provide channels for secure and private communication between entities, which can be clearly authenticated in a mutually understood manner.

There are several commonly used mechanisms for supporting secure and private communication, transaction protection and identity assertion and management. These include the so-called Internet PKI commonly used for secure web browsing but which can be used for other applications, PKI for e-mail, RPKI used by Regional Internet Registries to assert the holders of IP resources, and DNSSEC that can be used to validate DNS queries. DANE is a new protocol that uses DNSSEC to allow owners to assert their own digital certificates, and therefore potentially incorporate the functionality of the Internet PKI into the global DNS.

This Introduction to PKIs & CAs provides an overview of how these mechanisms work and how they are deployed.

The topics include:

  • What is a Public Key Infrastructure?
  • How does Public Key cryptography work?
  • Why should I care about PKIs?
  • What is a CA?
  • How do I establish a publicly trusted CA?
  • What do I need to worry about?
  • What is RPKI?
  • What is DNSSEC?

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