Digital certificates

Certificates are a digital way to establish trust in other parties. In brief, the trustworthiness of a website goes something like this:

Unencrypted < self-signed < free provider signed < CAcert signed < commercially signed

An analysis of the things each of these methods tells you:

MethodAnalysis
unencryptedThe site has public information, and traffic can be analysed by third parties. The information can be stored in caches
self-signedThe site owner knows how to use encryption. Information should not be stored in caches
free provider signedThe site owner knows about trust hierarchies, and can access the maintenance email of his own domain
CAcert signedThe site owner can be traced to a real person and is known to a government organisation (passport, driver's license etc)
commercially signedThe site owner has enough cash and is willing to use it to enforce trust

One free provider is StartSSL. CAcert is also free. Verisign is an example of a commercial trust provider.

CAcert offers you the possibility to sign your website encryption keys with the CAcert root key, as well as signing of your email GPG key with the CAcert key. With website certificates you can enable encryption on your websites (https), and with gpg keys you can encrypt your email to be read by the receiving party only, or sign your email to verify it was sent by you and not altered in between.

CAcert is based on points and a web of trust. At least one recycling center maintainer (Neva, Otakut) has the ability to issue CAcert points to you. Bring government-issued ID's with you to the recycling center on Otakut reception hours, preferably two, and you will get points to use in your own CAcert certificates.

Browsers have embedded lists of root certificates they trust initially. In january 2011, CAcert root certificate is not yet included there, so you have to install the root yourself. StartSSL root is included in most browsers, as well as several commercial trust providers.


Otaniemi Recycling Center

Moving Service otettu pois näkyvistä 4.12.2014/AR * Moving service

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* Waste electronics recycling guide * Requesting or Donating Items

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