Certificate Authority: What Are They And What They Do?


The world of the internet is pretty big, and as all of it can not always be protected and monitored, cybercrimes take place. The internet has evolved so much in recent years that one can even shop online. Various online transactions take place through multiple modes claiming and ensuring that all the transactions are secure. This all is possible because of certificate authority, which encrypts the data of the end-users. A certificate issuing authority ensures the internet world’s operation and how transactions are trustable and transparent to the users. This article is about various aspects of the certificate authority, including its meaning, work, and types of certificate authority.

  1. What Is A Certificate Authority?
  2. What Does A Certificate Authority Do?
  3. Why Prefer Trusted Certificate Authorities
  4. What To Know Before You Choose A Certificate Authority
  5. Types Of Certificate Authority and SSL Certificate

1. What Is A Certificate Authority?

A certificate authority is an organization that issues SLL certificates and also works to validate the identities of the entities. These entities include websites, email addresses, individual persons, and companies as well. They identify the identities and ensure that data transferred between the entities and the end-users are safe and secure.

These organizations or certificate issuing authorities ensure that the users’ data binds into cryptographic keys through electronic documents. These electronic documents through which the data is bound are called digital certificates. The main roles of a digital certificate are to provide authentication, encryption, and integrity. They act as a credential, validating the identity of the entity. 

These digital certificates encrypt the data transferred between the entity and the end-user. This ensures that the communication between these two is secure. They provide integrity, which ensures that no third party can alter the signed documents. In simple words, the certificate authority definition is the validation for running an entity, ensuring it is legitimate.

2. What Does A Certificate Authority Do?

The job of a certificate authority is not limited to providing a website security certificate or SSL, but they work with issuing the certificate. The SSL certificate authorities’ main role is to ensure that they are only providing the certificate to legit companies or organizations. They will go through a thorough verification process to ensure that the certificate is not provided to someone who is not legitimate. Therefore, the verification process can be longer depending on the types of certificate authorities one is going for.

For instance, if you are going for domain validation, then the SSL certificate providers will ensure the domain’s ownership. Whereas, in the case of organization validation or extended validation, they will verify all the documents related to business registrations and the business’s credit reports. The process can furthermore take 3-5 working days to get a certificate. There are a few things that you should know before you choose a certificate authority.

3. Why Prefer Trusted Certificate Authorities

There have been many cases that reported the website not having a legit SSL certificate. Various certificate providers do not vigorously follow the guidelines of the CA/B forum. There has been increased security to ensure that the website does not use an SSL certificate from a fraud SSL certificate provider. There are various things to consider before you consider going for certificate authority. This ensures that you are choosing a trusted digital signature certificate authority,

4. What To Know Before You Choose A Certificate Authority

  • Make sure that the certificate-issuing authority who issues the SSL certificate goes through the norms of the validation process.
  • The popularity of the certificate-issuing authority you are choosing can also tell whether it is trusted or not.
  • Know the recent history of the authority and ensure that it does not have any bad reputation or fraud in the past.
  • Make sure that the digital signature certificate authority takes security measures to protect cryptographic keys.

So when you apply for a certificate of authority, ensure that you keep these things in mind.

5. Types Of Certificate Authority and SSL Certificate

There are two types of certificate authority which is a root authority and subordinate authority. A root CA works on creating the certificates, which are then used by other authorities. Similarly, a subordinate CA receives the certificate from the root CA which then provides it to entities applying for the certificate.

There is not just one type of SSL certificate. There are six different types of SSL certificates that can be assigned to the entities once the details are verified.

  • Extended Validation Certificates- This is considered to be one of the most expensive SSL certificates that can be given to the website. When an extended certificate is given to the website, it displays HTTPS, the business name, the browser country, and a padlock. These types of certificates are used by various high-profile websites which process transactions and collect users’ data. One can apply for a certificate of authority from the various issuing authority.
  • Organization Validation- This is of the same level as extended validation certificates. Their work is to encrypt the data of the user during any transaction that takes place. This is needed to be installed by commercial websites to ensure that the customers’ data on the website is secure and encrypted. If one is running a legitimate brand, then one can become a certificate authority. 
  • Domain Validated Certificates- Blogs and various informational websites require these types of certificates. This is the lowest or what can say minimal encryption one can have. This type of certificate will only display HTTPS and a padlock on the website address bar. With this type of certificate, no business name will appear on the website. 
  • Wildcard SSL Certificates- This type of authority certificate will secure the base domain and also unlimited subdomains. This ensures that the website owner does not spend much on several domains and instead goes for the wildcard SSL certificate to secure multiple subdomains. 
  • Multi-Domain SSL certificates- This type of certificate will help you secure different domain names and subdomains. Buying this type of SSL certificate will ensure that you can secure up to 100 different domains and subdomains with the single certificate installed. 
  • Unified Communications Certificates- These are also considered to be a type of multi-domain SSL certificate. 


This is what the certification authority means. A certification authority is a company verifying the website or entity to be legit. The article explains various aspects of the SSL certificate authority and how it works. You should refer to this article if you are willing to buy a certificate authority for your website or entity. One of the most important things when buying an SSL certificate is to ensure that you are getting one from a legitimate source and not a fraudulent one. This ensures that the validation process is followed carefully.

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give them an edge in this competitive world.

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