What Are The 6 Major Components Of PKI You Need To Be Aware Of

With the rapid growth of technology, everything has become easy and convenient. It’s not just businesses; consumers are also using various technologies for different purposes. As a result, digital information and its security have become the rising concerns for businesses and consumers.

With that in mind, many tech firms and analysts suggest implementing a PKI system for security in exchange for data. If you are not sure what PKI is and how it can be useful for your organization, this article will help you understand it. Here you will know about the six major components of a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Components of PKI

A Public Key Infrastructure is a system that ensures the secure exchange of information. It establishes a trust hierarchy by verifying the legitimacy of different entities connected to the system.

1)    Public Key

As the name suggests, a public key is distributed to the public. It’s a cryptographic key that does not require any secure storage. However, a user or device needs the corresponding private key to decrypt the message encrypted in the public key.

2)    Private Key

A private key is required by the user or device to access the encrypted message. A public key encrypts the message, and it can only be decrypted with a private key that matches the key pair. The public and private key pairs ensure that the authorized party can only access the message.

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3)    Certificate Authority

Certificate Authority (CA) is one of the crucial components of a PKI. It manages almost all the aspects of a PKI system. It authenticates both the public key, digital information, and the private key by issuing digital certificates.

In a PKI system, the CA authenticates all the information by issues a digital certificate for the public key. The public key and the message are sent to the CA for authentication. The CA then creates a PKI certificate and assigns a private key. There are several root CA, and each root CA has multiple intermediate CAs in a PKI system.

4)    Certificate Revocation List

Certificate Revocation List is a useful security feature in case a device is stolen. It contains a list of certificates that are issued by the CA. CRLs are of two types, such as Base and Delta CRL.

Both of these CRLs contain the revoked list of certificates. The Base CRL contains all the revoked lists of certificates, whereas the Delta CRL contains only a few of them. Generally, the base CRL is updated on a weekly basis, and the Delta CRL is updated on a daily basis.

5)    Certificate Store

As the name suggests, it stores all the certificates. A certificates store is used for storing all the certificates that are issued by multiple CAs. These certificates can be accessed using MMC snap-in inside a Windows OS. On the other hand, the certificates are stores in the keychain in MacOS.

6)    Hardware System Module

Last but not least, a hardware system module is a useful component that improves the security of a PKI system. Although it’s not as essential for every PKI system, it can secure the security keys in a hardware system.

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The HSM is helpful in managing the whole lifecycle of the security keys. It includes various operations such as creation, modification, deletion, and integration with various applications and devices.

Final Words

Finally, I hope you have understood the major components of a PKI system. As mentioned above, the Certificate Authority is one of the core components of the PKI system that issues digital certificates. It also authenticates the public key, private key, and the encrypted message.

In a nutshell, PKI  establishes a relationship by ensuring a trust hierarchy between the different entities such as people, devices, and organizations. If you have any queries, then ask in the comments section and share your opinion on this post.

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