barcode excel 2003 free 11: Securing TCP/IP in Software

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11: Securing TCP/IP
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Figure 11-12 Digitally signed
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Figure 11-13 Secure Web page
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In the background, several items take place (all before the secure Web page loads) First, the Web server automatically sends down a copy of its certificate Built into that certificate is the Web server s digital signature and a signature from the third party who guarantees this is really eBay Go to your national version of eBay (I m in the United States, so I ll use eBaycom) and click Sign In (you don t even need an eBay account to do this) Now look at the certificate for the current session Depending on the Web browser you use, there are different ways to see it Try clicking the little lock icon at the bottom of the page or in the address bar as this usually works Figure 11-14 shows the certificate for this session
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Figure 11-14
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11: Securing TCP/IP
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So there s a company called VeriSign that issued this certificate That s great, but how does your computer check all this Simple VeriSign is a certificate authority Every Web browser keeps a list of certificate authority certificates that it checks against when it receives a digital certificate Figure 11-15 shows the certificate authority certificates stored on my system
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Figure 11-15 Certificate authority certificates on system
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NOTE It is very difficult to become a root certificate authority with enough respect to have Web browsers install your certificate!
When someone wants to create a secure Web site, he or she buys a certificate signed by a certificate authority, such as VeriSign (the biggest player in the market and the one I ll use for this example) VeriSign acts as the root, and the new Web site s certificate contains VeriSign s signature For more advanced situations, VeriSign includes an
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intermediate certificate authority between VeriSign s root certificate authority and the user s certificate This creates a tree of certificate authorization, with the root authorities at the top and issued certificates at the bottom You can also have intermediate authorities, although these are not as heavily used Together, this organization is called a public-key infrastructure (PKI) (Figure 11-16)
Figure 11-16 VeriSign s PKI tree
Root (CA)
Intermediate (CA)
Intermediate (CA)
Intermediate (CA)
Issuing (CA)
Issuing (CA)
You don t have to use PKI to use certificates First, you can create your own, unsigned, certificates These are perfectly fine for lower-security situations (e-mail among friends, personal Web page, and so forth), but don t expect anyone to buy products on a Web site or send highly sensitive e-mail without a signed certificate from a well-known certificate authority like VeriSign, thawte, or GoDaddy Last, many certificate providers, primarily for e-mail, provide a Web-of-trust option In this case, someone else who is already part of a trust group signs your certificate There is no certificate authority, just a group of peers who trust each other The popular Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption program, among many others, uses such a trust model NOTE Almost all e-mail clients support encryption you just need to get a certificate If you want to start playing with e-mail encryption and signing, grab a free personal e-mail certificate from thawte: wwwthawtecom You can even join thawte s Web of Trust (WOT) Instructions are on the Web site Digital certificates and asymmetric cryptography are closely linked as digital certificates are almost always used to verify the exchange of public keys In many cases this takes place behind the scenes of e-mail, Web pages, and even in some very secure wireless networks Though you may not see certificates in action very often, do know they are there
11: Securing TCP/IP
Authentication
You most likely have dealt with authentication at some level Odds are good you ve at least had to type in a user name and password on a Web site Maybe your computer at work or school requires you to log onto the network Whatever the case, the first exposure to authentication for most users is a request to enter a user name and password A network technician should understand not only how different authentication methods control user names and passwords, but also some of the authentication standards used in today s TCP/IP networks Passwords offer significant security challenges What happens after you type in a user name and password How is this data transferred Who or what reads this What is the data compared to A series of TCP/IP security standards that use combinations of user names, passwords, and sometimes certificates, all handled in a usually secure manner, address these issues, as described in the upcoming section, TCP/IP Security Standards
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