A PKI Certificate Is Part of the Process Used to Create Digital Signatures

A PKI certificate is the result of the processes used to create a variety of different types of digital certificates. PKI means public key infrastructure and is the standard commonly used with digital certificates containing a digital signature. Digital signatures are encrypted electronic signatures that allow organizations to complete binding business transactions using digital formats in place of paper. This is because a digital signature requires two certificates -- one containing a private key, and the other containing a public key. The one with the private key is retained by the company or individual to digitally sign documents, data, forms and files, while the other one, with the public key, is distributed to anyone who must verify and authenticate the signed documents.

A PKI Certificate Validates Against Another Digital Certificate with a Private Key

The public key being used as a digital signature in the PKI certificate performs complex algorithms against the embedded and encrypted data in order to authenticate and open the document, form or file. The mathematical computations of the public key must reach the exact same result as the private key. However, it should be pointed out that the private key performs its own algorithms, which are completely different from the public key’s algorithms, to reach the same result. By having each key perform different and complex algorithms, it helps prevent against unwanted attacks and unauthorized access, and makes it rather difficult to duplicate the algorithmic data in order to open the document, file or data without the proper digital certificate and public key.