Certificate management definition
Certificate management refers to the process of managing digital certificates, electronic files used to verify the identity of individuals, systems, and devices on a network. It helps establish secure communications over the internet, such as for online transactions, email encryption, and secure browsing. Digital certificates are issued by trusted third-party organizations called Certificate Authorities (CAs).
How does certificate management work?
- Certificate validation helps check that the certificate is valid before a connection is established.
- Certificate issuance involves obtaining digital certificates from a trusted CA and installing them on the appropriate systems and devices.
- Certificate renewal helps ensure that active websites continue to hold the certificate and prevents outdated certificates from being exploited for cybercrime.
- Certificate revocation helps protect from certificates that were compromised or are no longer needed.
- Secure storage of digital certificates prevents unauthorized access.
- Certificate policy enforcement is an important part of certificate management because some organizations may have specific policies in place regarding the use of digital certificates.
How to prevent certificate fraud
Attackers can create a fraudulent certificate that appears to be issued by a trusted CA. The attacker can then use this fake certificate to perform man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks as well as other malicious activities. Users can protect against certificate fraud by always checking the domain name and looking out for any warning messages or suspicious pop-ups.