SSL Glossary

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P

Password
A protected/private character string which can be used to authenticate the identity of a person that wishes to access web based services. For example, passwords are often used authenticate bank customers that wish to access their accounts in the SSL secure area of the bank's website.
Protocol
A Protocol involves a previously agreed upon set of rules for communicating in diplomatic settings. On the Internet, a protocol is an agreed upon method for sending and receiving information between data sources, servers and networks.
Private Key
In secure communication, an algorithmic pattern used to encrypt messages that only the corresponding public key can decrypt. The private key is also used to decrypt messages that were encrypted by the corresponding public key. The private key is kept on the user's system and is protected by a password. It can encrypt or decrypt data for a single transaction but cannot do both. Private keys, in partnership with public keys, are a critical element of the PKI which forms the backbone of secure internet transactions.
Public Key
In secure communication, an algorithmic pattern used to decrypt messages that were encrypted by the corresponding private key. This is also used to encrypt messages that only the corresponding private key can decrypt. Users broadcast their public keys to everyone with whom they must exchange encrypted messages. It can encrypt or decrypt data for a single transaction but cannot do both. Public keys, in partnership with private keys, are a critical element of the PKI infrastructure which forms the backbone of secure internet transactions.
Public Key Cipher
A public key cipher uses a key for SSL encryption, so it is different from the one used for decryption. Although the keys are similar, it's impossible to decipher the decryption key from only the encryption key in a short time. This system encodes a session key that is used with symmetric systems to encode the actual data. RSA is just one example of a public key algorithm. Others are EPOC (Efficient Probabilistic Public Key Encryption), SSL Key Encryption, and SSH Secure Shells.
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
A PKI enables users of a basically unsecured public network such as the Internet to securely and privately exchange data and money through the use of a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority (usually, but not exclusively, this role is fulfilled by a trusted Certificate Authority). The PKI provides for a digital certificate that can identify an individual or an organization and directory services that can store and, when necessary, revoke the certificates.

PKI uses public key cryptography to provide strong authentication of identity, or encrypt a digital online payment. Cryptography involves the creation of a "secret key" for SSL decryption and encryption. Secret or private key systems are insecure if the password can be decrypted easily. Asymmetric cryptography is the public key system, and "symmetric cryptography" is the private key system.
Public Key Cryptography
A public and private key system that using an algorithm to encrypt or decrypt information, so that only the sender and recipient may access the transmission. Information about the private key goes to the party requesting the public key via a digital certificate that resides on the server for secure access.

The private key decrypts data that has been encrypted with a public key a surfer who can verify it. So, when a secure Digital SSL Certificate is sent, the recipient has access to the public key, but not to the private key. An administrator will usually encrypt messages with a public key. When received, it's decrypted using the private key information.

R

Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS)
Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) is a standard for authenticating the identity of remote dial-in users.
Realm
A unique name given to each protected area on a server, whether it be a single document or an entire server.
Rights
In the sphere of computer networking, Rights refer to the privileges a user has within a system.
Root Certificate
In cryptography and computer security, a root certificate is an unsigned public key certificate, or a self-signed certificate, and is part of a PKI scheme. The most common commercial variety is based on the ISO X.509 standard. Normally an X.509 certificate includes a digital signature from a certificate authority (CA) which vouches for correctness of the data contained in a certificate. Root certificates are so called because they occupy the top most level in a certificate chain hierarchy between a web server and the customer's browser.
RSA Encryption
RSA Encryption is a popular encryption and authentication standard that uses asymmetric keys and was developed by Rivest, Sharmir, and Adelman. Based on a public key system, every user has 2 digital keys, one to encrypt information, and the other to decrypt. Strong authentication of both sender and recipient is achieved with this method.
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