Securing Web services: be your own CA

Thursday, 26 August 2004, 9:29 AM EST

In this article we continue our discussion of some of the foundations of public key infrastructure (PKI) that we began in an earlier article, where we discussed the role of keys, certificates, and trust. While discussing the importance of distributed (or transitive) trust in PKI design, we outlined the job of the certificate authority (CA) in PKI, giving the general idea of its role in certificate issuance and management. Here, we'll explore the how and when one might wish to establish one's own CA when incorporating a PKI into an enterprise design.

We'll expand the discussion of CA implementation and use by giving practical examples using two widely available tools, OpenSSL and keytool. Bear in mind that many of the topics that we'll touch on require a deeper background than is practical to present within the scope if this article. Where applicable, we'll provide pointers to useful references.

By Jeffrey L. Vagle at NewsForge.

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