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A certificate is an electronic identifier that contains a digital signature created by a certification authority (CA) with a private key

. In addition to the digital signature, a certificate contains the name of the certification authority, the name or identity of

the holder, thepublic key of

the holder, the validity period and is digitally signed by the certification authority (CA).The

authenticity of the keys is verified by


.The Digital Signature Act defines the term certificate as follows: For the purposes of this Act, a certificate is a digital attestation, provided with a digital signature, of the assignment of a public signature key to a natural person (signature key certificate) or a separate digital attestation containing further information with clear reference to a signature key certificate (attribute certificate).

Principle structure of a

Principle structure of a

certificate If a certificate is used to authenticate an identity or to authenticate a digital signature, then it is an identity certificate. Such certificates may only be used within the security infrastructure

(PKI). If, on the other hand, the purpose isto encryptmessages, files or documents

and the certificate contains a public key, then it is an encryption certificate. There are several formats for the structure of the certificate.

The X.509 certification format recommended by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is one that has been in use for several years.

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Englisch: certificate
Updated at: 09.10.2020
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