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What are X.509 certificates and how do they enable trust?

Submitted by saahilkhan on Fri, 04/19/2024 - 02:58

PKI architecture used to keep networks of IoT devices safe from attack, the role of digitally signed X.509 certificates is to enable trusted exchanges. This is achieved by leveraging asymmetric cryptography, where a user has both a public and private key pair tied to their identity. This allows anyone else to decrypt data to send to the user using the public, which they can then decrypt with their private key. 

The various security features that are part of the X.509 certificate standard make it easy for all parties to quickly ascertain the trustworthiness and unique identifiers of another party. However, the responsibility for maintaining this trust lies with CAs, who must monitor all issued certificates and uphold the protocols standards. 

here are a number of standards and procedures which must be followed for a CA to gain and maintain the trust of network users. A hacked CA, such as the hack of Dutch CA DigiNotar, can cause chaos for networks with thousands or even millions of certificates being compromised. As a result, ensuring their own security is essential.