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An electronic credential that allows access to secure web applications.

A certificate is a form of digital credential which may be used for authentication. More formally, an X.509 certificate is a cryptographically signed, digital representation of user or device attributes that binds a key to an identity. A unique certificate attached to a public key provides evidence that the key has not been compromised. A certificate is issued and signed by a trusted certification authority, and binds a public key to its owner. Certificates typically include the owner's name, the owner's public key, the certificate's serial number, and the certificate's expiration date. Other information might also be present.

Certificates may be used to authenticate a user without requiring that the user enter a password.

See also

Certificates at MIT
MIT Touchstone authentication system


Provides definitions for common IT terms and acronyms

Last Modified:

January 26, 2016

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