Appendix 3: Using SSL in UNIX Environments

What is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

SSL is a protocol that provides secure network communications. Developed by Netscape Communications, SSL uses the encryption algorithms that were developed by RSA Security, Inc. and other cryptography experts.

In addition to providing encryption services, SSL performs client and server authentication and uses message authentication codes. SSL is supported by both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. Many Web sites use this protocol to protect confidential user information, such as credit card numbers . URLs that require an SSL connection begin with https : instead of http:. The SSL protocol is application independent, which allows protocols such as HTTP, FTP, and Telnet to be transparently layered above it. SSL is optimized for HTTP.

Certification Authorities (CAs)

As e-business proliferates, there is a great need to ensure the confidentiality of business transactions over a network between an enterprise and its consumers, between enterprises , and within an enterprise. Cryptography products provide security services by exploiting digital certificates, public-key cryptography, private-key cryptography, and digital signatures. Certification authorities (CAs) create and maintain digital certificates, which also help preserve confidentiality.

Various commercial CAs, such as VeriSign and Thawte, provide competitive services for the e-commerce market. You can also develop your own CA by using products from companies such as RSA Security and Microsoft or from the Open Source Toolkit OpenSSL. From a trusted CA, members of an enterprise can obtain digital certificates to facilitate their e-business needs. The CA provides a variety of ongoing services to the business client that include handling digital certificate requests , issuing digital certificates, and revoking digital certificates.

Public and Private Keys

Public-key cryptography uses a public and a private key pair. The public key can be known by anyone, therefore, anyone can send a confidential message. The private key is confidential and known only to the owner of the key pair, therefore, only the owner can read the encrypted message. The public key is used primarily for encryption, but it can also be used to verify digital signatures. The private key is used primarily for decryption, but it can also be used to generate a digital signature.

Digital Signatures

A digital signature affixed to an electronic document or to a network data packet is like a personal signature that concludes a hand-written letter or that validates a credit card transaction. Digital signatures are a safeguard against fraud. A unique digital signature results from using a private key to encrypt a message digest. Receipt of a document that contains a digital signature enables the receiver to verify the source of the document. Electronic documents can be verified if you know where the document came from, who sent it, and when it was sent. Another form of verification comes from MACs, which ensure that a document has not been changed since it was signed.

Digital Certificates

Digital certificates are electronic documents that ensure the binding of a public key to an individual or an organization. Digital certificates provide protection from fraud.

Usually, a digital certificate contains a public key, a user's name, and an expiration date. It also contains the name of the certification authority (CA) that issued the digital certificate and a digital signature that is generated by the CA. The CA's validation of an individual or an organization allows that individual or organization to be accepted at sites that trust the CA.

SAS 9.1 Companion for UNIX Environments
SAS 9.1 Companion For Unix Enivronments
ISBN: 1590472101
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 185
Authors: SAS Institute © 2008-2017.
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