A digital certificate is an electronic credential used to verify and authenticate the identity of an individual or device. Its primary function is to attest that the data is bound to the originator and that the data has not been altered.
Like any physical identification, a digital signature can be created, expired, renewed, revoked or suspended. Digital certificates are typically issued by a recognized organization called a Certificate Authority (CA) that can verify the certificate requestor's identity. Once a certificate is issued, the identity of the requestor can be trusted by all who trust the CA.
TrustPoint Innovation is a Certificate Authority.
Digital certificates are typically made up of three parts.
- Identification information for the user or device.
- A public key, associated with a private key that is kept by the user/device.
- The digital signature.
Digital certificates, combined with public-key cryptography, provide an enhanced level of authentication and privacy for digital communications that simply cannot be achieved through passwords alone.
Because of the limited memory and bandwidth normally found in M2M environments, TrustPoint Innovation is leveraging Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), which is best suited for this application.