The digital certificate requirements are necessary to be fulfilled in cases where authentication of digital certificates is to be ensured. Digital certificates are more commonly known as public key certificates, used extensively in the concept of cryptography.

These are basically electronically generated identity signatures or other forms of information that associate unique key values to person or organizations to create a record that cannot be duplicated and hence proves the unique existence of the entity.

This form of certificate is required mostly for security purposes, such that a tab is kept on public keys and corresponding whereabouts.

Key Features of a Digital Certificate:

The basic characteristics that define a digital certificate include:

  • SERIAL NUMBER: A unique number that helps identify the specific digital certificate.
  • SUBJECT: This is used for identification of the particular entity – person, organization or an agency.
  • SIGNATURE ALGORITHM: It is a manifestation of the algorithm that creates and defines a signature.
  • SIGNATURE: The record for verification and/or authentication of the key is the signature.
  • ISSUER: It is the entity that issues the certificate and verifies all related information.
  • VALID FROM: Date of issue and commencement of validity term of the digital certificate.
  • VALID TO: End of validity or date of expiry of the digital certificate.
  • KEY USAGE: Herein is mentioned the primary or basic purpose of preparing the digital certificate and area(s) it would be applied to.
  • PUBLIC KEY: The digital certificate is recognized by a public key.
  • THUMBPRINT ALGORITHM: This is a special algorithm that provides for hashing function on public key or digital certificate.
  • THUMBPRINT: An abbreviated version of the public key or digital certificate is served by the hash, recognized as thumbprint.

Classification of Digital Certificate:

The digital certificate requirements can be classified on the basis of vendor categories, that is, on the basis of the nature and specification of clients, such as:

  • Class 1: Individuals fall in this category, for which public key or digital certificate is prepared for emailing uses.
  • Class 2: Organizations are grouped in this category and digital certification requires identity proof.
  • Class 3: Software signing systems and servers fall in the third category; certificate authority is compulsory for digital certificates of this category.
  • Class 4: Herein are included all those companies that conduct online business transactions.
  • Class 5: Private firms and organizations that require governmental security fall in this class of vendors.