All You Need to Know About PKI

What is PKI?

PKI, which is most commonly known as, Public Key Infrastructure. PKI basically establishes a digital trust hierarchy in which a central authority verifies the identity of certain objects securely for you. Most commonly PKI is used to certify the users and the computers. People get the PKI certificate when they are trained in the functions which it provides.

The public key infrastructure (PKI) functions by maintaining, distributing, validating and revoking the SSL/TLS certificates which are built from the public key of the public/private key pairs.

There are many terms that are associated with the public key infrastructure (PKI) with which you need to familiar. You don’t need to memorize these terms or even understand them at this point. You can also skip these terms but they are a part of the PKI.

Some of the terms used in the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI):

These terms are most commonly used when we talk about the Public Key Infrastructure or the PKI certificate.

  1. SSL

The term ‘SSL’ stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’, which was designed to secure the digital communications which are traveling over the insecure channels. The SSL has cemented itself into a common vernacular, so there is very little chance for fighting it.

  1. TLS

The term ‘TLS’ stands for ‘Transport Layer Security’, which serves the same fundamental purpose as that of the SSL. The TLS also depends on the same basic components as well as the concepts of SSL but the technologies cannot be used as the other interchangeably.

All You Need to Know About PKI
  1. Cipher

Cipher is basically an algorithm that is used for the encoding or encryption process. Cipher or Ciphers are a collection or most commonly a suite of ciphers known in SSL.

  1. Key

A digital key is basically a sequence of bits that are usually expressed in the hexadecimal characters. The ciphers use these keys to encrypt or decrypt the data. There are two types of keys: a private key and the public key.

  • Private Key: A key which is held only by its owner and is not shared with anyone other than the owner.

  • Public Key: A key that is shared with anyone who asked for it.

  1. Certificate

A certificate is basically a digital file that is used for identity and the authorization of an individual. Some of the most referred certificates are SSL certificates, TLS certificates, PKI certificates, etc. These certificates include information about the individual such as their name, locality, & organization along with the public key and the validity period of it.

  1. Encoding

Encoding, in simple words, is the passing of data through an algorithm to transform it for the purpose of facilitating the process or conforming it to a standard. The algorithm used in this is used to encode as well as decode the data for you.

  1. Encryption

Encryption is similar to the process of encoding but this uses the algorithm which are the ciphers to obscure the data which are opposed to adapting it for a functional purpose. The same algorithm can also be used for the decryption process as well which is the reverse of encryption.

  1. Cracking

This term traces its origins to some of the same concepts which are behind the physical-world activities. Cracking refers to the action of decrypting the data without having an access to the private key of an individual.


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