What is Personal Authentication Certificate? A Complete Guide
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Personal Authentication Certificate

06/14/2021 by admin with 0 comments

What is Personal Authentication Certificate?

A certificate that is used for doing digital signatures on emails and online documents and also on encrypted emails is known as a Personal Authentication Certificate. The transmission of the data that occurs between the user’s browser and the website’s server can be protected and safe with the use of an SSL/TLS certificate. These certificates help to authenticate the servers for the clients and provide encryption to their data. A personal authentication certificate (PAC) is mainly referred to as a two-way SSL certificate. 

A Brief Overview of SSL Authentication Work

The process of a Personal Authentication Certificate is almost similar to SSL and code signing certificate process. You need to create an account after buying a personal authentication certificate and further Certificate Authority (CA) to complete the validation proceedings. 

  • The owner of the website purchases the SSL certificate for their domain name and the unsigned certificate will further send to the certificate authority along with the public keys.
  • The validation process helps the CA to verify the identity and domain ownership of the applicant. 
  • The process of SSL handshake occurs when the browser or client tries to connect with a website. 
  • The browser starts creating a session key after the process of SSL handshake is over which encrypts the browser by using the attached public key in the server’s SSL/TLS certificate. 
  • Once the session key reaches the server, it will decrypt the information by using the private key.
  • The encryption and decryption of the data can be done by using the session key and information which is transferred between server and browser is protected and safe. 

Types of Personal Authentication Certificates

Personal Authentication Certificate is of three types:

  1. Basic – The email address of the user can only be verified by this certificate. 
  2. Pro – In this type of certificate, only the user’s full name and email address are verified.
  3. Enterprise – All the details like the user’s full name, email address, contact details, etc., are verified by this certificate, and organization details are also provided by this certificate.

How One-Way SSL Authentication Works with a Traditional SSL/TLS Certificate?

Two endpoints are present in all communications named the browser and server (client or website). Only one endpoint is identified and verified by the one-way SSL authentication that is the server. Server authentication certificates are the alternate name of one-way SSL certificates. The process of one-way SSL authentication of SSL handshake:

  • The establishment of the HTTPS connection to the website server begins in the browser when the user attempts to connect with a website on their web browser. 
  • When the public certificate sends to the browser then the server responds.
  • Some of the things are checked by the browser such as legitimacy, latest algorithms support, configuration, etc.
  • The validity of the CA signature is checked by the browser from its pre-installed root store.
  • The process of SSL handshake completes after the above step and the browser creates a session key. 

Steps to Follow to Install the Personal Authentication Certificate

Step 1: Buying the certificate

For purchasing the Personal Authentication Certificate, all the details need to be provided by the website owner. 

Step 2: Create the certificate

For generating the certificate on your account, it is important to use Internet Explorer 11 in Windows and Safari in Mac.

Step 3: Complete the requirements of Validation

The certificate type which you will request at the time of buying is dependent on the requirements of validation.

Step 4: Collect the certificate

When your certificate is ready, an email will be sent to your mentioned email address for collecting the certificate. The same web browser should be used in the same computer that was sent at the time of certificate generation. 

Step 5: Certificate download or Export

After the collection of the certificate in the web browser, download the certificate from the PKCS12/PFX file which is present in the certificate store of the browser.

Step 6: Install the certificate 

After downloading the certificate file from the web browser, install the certificate on your desktop or you can move the certificate into another system whenever needed.

How Two Way SSL Authentication Works with a Personal Authentication Certificate?

During the SSL handshake process, the identity of the server and client are verified properly in the two-way SSL authentication. It is also referred to as mutual authentication SSL certificates. The process of SSL handshake that differs in the two way SSL authentication:

  • The browser tries to establish an HTTPS connection with the website server at the time when the user connects with the website in the web browser. 
  • When the certificate sends from the browser as a public certificate then the server responds. 
  • The validity of the certificate authority signature is checked by the browser from the pre-installed root store.
  • The client sends its public certificate to the server after successful server verification.
  • The validity and CA’s signature of the browser certificate are verified by the server.

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