A Public Key Infrastructure or PKI is a hot topic in the cryptography world that has made many people confused and perplexed. The PKI is the best security method that has seen a huge upswing in popularity among the users and can be used from allowing IoT communication to the digital signing of the document. But, it is very important to understand the term properly in case you are looking to ensure safe communication with help of a PKI certificate. Thus, we will look at a vital aspect of the PKI that you need to know about. Without wasting any time let us get started:
What’s Public Key Infrastructure?
A PKI or Public Key Infrastructure is one of the best systems that help to manage the identification, formation, distribution, and revocation of the public keys. The primary idea behind the PKI certificate system is ensuring that the key is used by the owner only and nobody else. This system includes various entrusted user roles, methods, software, hardware, and policies. Information is safely transmitted and encrypted without any PKI, however, you need to know in this case, there will not be any other method that will ensure the sender identity.
Importance of PKI
It is one important thing to know what you need a PKI and the role that it plays in encryption and it is just to ensure the safe data transfer. At one end somebody encrypts the message with the help of a PKI, and somebody from another decrypts this message by using a private key. There are just 2 people that have corresponding public and private keys pair will see this message. Nobody else will be able to see this just by intercepting data packets.
Whereas encryption enables safe data transfer from both ends and does not assure that the public key is used by the real owner of the key. It is possible the key to be obtained by somebody else (that generally happens with the public keys that are “public” in nature), and use this for sending encrypted and misleading information. This problem can be multiplied when the key is used by many people than one. If more people are using mean a higher risk of these keys going in hands of the 3rd party. Also, automation keys aren’t available just to people–they are given to computers too and we all know that computers can get hacked. It all comes down to the sensitivity of information getting shared and the way to find the real identity of that person having the public key. This is where the public key comes into the picture.
Use Case Examples of the PKI
SSL is a widespread execution of the public key infrastructure, however, it is not just one in use. The thread has a big list of the PKI applications and those are:
- With database servers get your internal communications secured
- For the encrypted hard drive, it offers the recovery key
- Helps to secure local networks —the PKI capacities are formed in Microsoft’s Directory and have physical keycards for storing the digital certificates that will ensure the right users are using it.
- Securing IoT access for devices
- Secure messaging —for example, the signal protocol makes use of PKI
- Signing documents
- Email encryption
Different Applications and PKI Use Cases
PKI can be used in many different ways that we will look at in complete detail here.
- For smart card logins
- Safe email messaging
- Authentications of the client system
- XML documents encryption
As we can see in all the examples where data security is highly important, PKI can be used. It is even used in the Internet of Things that will make sure safe communication between both the trusted devices. There are a few sectors where this can be used include governments, military, healthcare, finance, and many more. The handling and management of the company’s databases will be the next area where the public key infrastructure is seen to be used.
The public key infrastructure binds every key with the owner’s identity and with a digital SSL certificate. The binding process can be automated that depends on parties involved and human supervision. When the public key gets bounded with the digital certificate, then this certificate will perform the secondary measure that will help to establish the identity of a public key owner.