Digital Certificates: How they Secure Consumer-Level Devices, Identities
The modern home is connected to the online world today more than ever. Now, everything from toaster ovens to toilets are IP-enabled. The phenomenon is called the Internet of Things, and we are currently starting to see the beginning of a massive worldwide adoption of it.
While the Internet of Things is going to make the world a much more interconnected and convenient place, consumers are now faced with an overwhelming responsibility to protect access to their devices, homes and identities from cyber invasion. In fact, home networks are especially vulnerable to criminal invasion already.
Devices in the primitive stage of IP adoption — such as thermostats, lighting and home security systems — all need to be protected the same way that personal computers and mobile devices do. Home networks need to be aware that whatever device connects to the network is trusted.
One security measurement that offers a viable solution for ensuring continued home security is the use of digital certificates. A digital certificate helps verify that an end-entity (e.g., person, machine, application, etc.), attempting to gain physical or logical access, is who they or it claims to be. It is used by binding a public key with a personal identity distributed by an independent third party. Through a digital certificate, network access control can be granted or denied accordingly.
In a digital certificate, information such as serial numbers, signature algorithms and certificate attributes are all examples of information that can be used to verify the authentication of a public key.