Public key encryption

Your Web server’s Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security feature utilizes a technique known as public key encryption to shield the session key from interception during transmission.

Public key algorithms use two different keys, a public key, and a private key. The private key is held privately by the owner of the key pair, and the public key distributed to anyone who requests it. If one key is used to encrypt a message, then the other key is required to decrypt the message.

Digital signatures and digital envelopes are produced using two different, but related processes. The process for creating a digital signature involves using the sender’s private key, whereas the process of creating a digital envelope uses the intended recipient’s public key.

Digital Signatures Authenticate Authorship

Digital signatures are used to confirm authorship, not to encrypt a message. The sender uses his or her private key to generate a digital signature string bundled with the message. Upon receipt of the message, the recipient uses the sender’s public key to validate the signature. Because only the signer’s public key can be used to verify the signature, the digital signature is proof that the message sender’s identity is authentic.

Digital Envelopes Encrypt Messages

Digital envelopes are used to send private messages that can only be understood by a particular recipient. To create a digital envelope, the sender encrypts the message using the recipient’s public key. The message can only be decrypted using the recipient’s private key, so only the recipient will be able to understand the message.

You can configure your Web server’s SSL security features to guarantee the integrity of your content, verify the identity of users, and encrypt network transmissions.

Your Web server requires a valid server certificate to establish SSL secure communications. Use the Key Manager utility to generate a certificate request file. If your aren’t using Microsoft Certificate Server 1.0 to issue your server certificates, then a third-party CA must approve your application and issue your server certificate. You can either forward your request file to the authority or use Key Manager to deliver the request to an online authority. After you receive a server certificate file, use Key Manager to install it on your computer.

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