What is a digital certificate?
A simple digital certificate definition is that it is a digital version of an identification card which is issued by a Certificate Authority. It means that it provides online entities the means to prove who they are. It is a form of authentication and authorization as a result.
A digital certificate holds a public key within it and that key relates to a specific identity. As digital certificates are provided by a Certificate Authority, that authority acts almost like an underwriter or sponsor. In effect, it is guaranteeing that the digital certificates that have been bestowed on an individual and company are legitimate and authentic. Digital certificates do not last forever and are necessary for the creation of e-signatures.
How does a digital certificate work?
All types of digital certificates are acquired by an entity from a certification authority. In doing so, the entity makes an application which generates a private public key pair. That application is sent to the certification authority as well as the required identification documentation. The authority then either approves or denies the application. If it is successful, the authority then associates them with the public key that was originally sent. The authority has, in that way, issued a certificate for the applicant. That certificate is the guarantee that the entity is who they say they are.
Advantages of a digital certificate
A digital certificate means that should someone want to enter into communication with an entity with a digital certificate, they can do so safe in the knowledge that the end party is authentic. Without it, emails or chats may be with another party that could be posing as someone else.
Online access to financial institutions
Much of the world is now comfortable with doing their banking online. Even if they have not moved fully to an online only bank, many are more and more comfortable making financial transactions either through their phone or a computer. That is only possible thanks to digital certificates which mean users can be confident they are banking with the entity they believe they are.
Much like banking online, shopping online with certainty is only really possible thanks to digital certificates. With their usage, companies can authenticate themselves so that customers know only to use websites that have a digital certificate. It thus minimizes the risk of shopping on an illegitimate website acting as a scam.
Reduction in online crime
All of the above advantages add up to a mass reduction in online crime. While online crime is still a very real threat to many, having tools like digital certificates in place is a key way to help prevent it from happening.
Contractbook and digital certificate
Given that Contractbook’s software provides the ability to sign contracts online with digital signatures, that is only possible with the help of digital certificates that can authenticate who those signatures are from. Digital certificates help make the internet and all the work stemming from online connections safer overall.