Key management plays a special role in the integration of cryptographic encryption methods in data networks, since the security of encrypted communication and the verification ofauthenticity depend on secrecy.
To prevent misuse in asymmetric encryption, key management must ensure that a public key belongs to whoever it purports to be. Misuse can be prevented by certifying a public key by a trusted authority, a Trust Center( TC) or a Certification Authority( CA). For this purpose, the certification authority signs a participant's public key with a secret key and manages the corresponding information so that it can be verified for requesting participants.
A general distinction is made between centralized and decentralized key management, whereby in centralized key management a key management center is set up. In decentralized key management, the individual network subscribers are responsible for the management themselves. Key management is described in X.509.