How Does Verisign Work?

  • Cryptography, the science of coding messages so that only a specific audience understands them, is an ancient craft that has become a highly specialized science in the digital age. Certificate authorities, like a latter-day notary public, provide encryption services for "netizens" of the world wide web that insure security for anything from credit card purchases to national defense intelligence.

  • Verisign, the largest certificate authority (CA) organization, assigns a digital signature to a customer that contains two encrypted codes called keys--a private key that certifies the customer and a public key, which certifies the customer to anyone using the customer's web site. These codes form what is called a "secure socket layer", or SSL (a digital system developed by Netscape) that insures the website's authenticity.

  • Verisign verifies web sites using a process that examines traditional documents like articles of incorporation and business licenses as well as digital verification of each site operated by the organization. It is this certification process that is represented by the Verisign trademark on participating web sites. The trademark is generally found in an upper or lower corner of a page and any order forms where personal information is requested should display one. Most Windows systems also display a warning screen when the computer switches to secure mode.

  • Each web site is issued a public key and a private key. The public key allows consumers or users to encrypt their transactions using SSL technology. The private key allows authorized users of the web site to receive information sent using the public key. This double-handshake system assures consumers that their transaction is secure and that only authorized representatives of the recipient's company have access to the information (like credit card numbers or bank information) they've sent.

  • Public and private key encryption has been used by merchants for years, but many banks are beginning to add another layer of security for consumers by providing systems that allow the consumer to verify with his own private key. Although this adds a second step to the log-in process for banking and other financial activities, it is the next step in secure encryption and will become more prevalent as CA's develop new ways to protect against cyber-theft and terrorism.

  • Verisign session services are available in various bit (number or pieces of data, or complexity of codes) sizes, beginning with 128 or 40 bits. Public/private keys within certificates are issued in 512 or 1024 bit packages. Since Verisign IDs work on almost all browsers, the company has become pre-eminent, controlling a majority of certification of sites.

Related Searches

Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

Geek Vs Geek: Robot battles, hoverboard drag race, and more

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!