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Basic Definitions For PKI (SARS Requirements)

Find below some basic definitions for using Public Key Infrastructure.

  • Public-and-Private Key Pair In PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) systems, which are normally built on asymmetrical encryption schemes, the two keys of the key pair have different functions. One key is kept secret by its owner, and is known as the private key. The other key in the key pair is public knowledge, and is known as the public key of the party in question.
  • Private Key The one half of a key pair that is kept secret by its owner. Only the owner of the private key uses it in the asymmetrical encryption or decryption of data.
  • Public Key The one half of a key pair that is made public knowledge. The public key of an entity is used by other entities in the asymmetrical encryption or decryption of data.
  • Certificate A certificate is a digitally signed statement from one entity, saying that the public key of some other entity has a particular value.
  • X.509 Certificate The X.509 standard defines what information goes into an X.509 certificate, and how the information is formatted. X.509 certificates are commonly used by Internet security systems, and other PKI systems.
  • Certificate Authority (CA) In a PKI system, the certificate authority is the trusted party responsible for issuing digitally signed certificates. Each certificate states that the public key of a certain entity has a particular value. In some cases the CA may also be responsible for the generation and issuing of the public-and-private key pairs.
  • Root Certificate A root certificate is a self-signed certificate, issued by a certificate authority, stating that the public key in the certificate does belong to the certificate authority itself. Root certificates are normally trusted by the participants of a PKI system.

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