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10. Public Key Infrastructure > 10.1. Understanding Public Key Infrastructure (...

10.1. Understanding Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

Problem

You want a fundamental understanding of PKI.

Solution

Read the following discussion for an overview of basic PKI concepts. For a more detailed treatment, we recommend the book Planning for PKI: Best Practices Guide for Deploying Public Key Infrastructure by Russ Housley and Tim Polk (John Wiley & Sons).

Discussion

One of the big motivators behind public key cryptography is that there is some hope for securely exchanging encryption keys in an insecure medium. However, that is not as easy as it sounds. If used in a naïve manner, the basic public key methods for communication are susceptible to a man-in-the-middle attack, in which the two parties end up talking to an attacker who relays messages, instead of to each other (we discuss this attack in Recipe 7.1).


  

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