What is an RSA Certificate? How RSA Certificate Works, Features & More

Cyberattacks are increasing with internet usage. For example, a recent attack on a Japanese electronics manufacturer emphasizes the need for enhanced encryptions. Japan Aviation Electronics suffered an attack from the ALPHV/BlackCat ransomware group. The attack was executed remotely, and the website servers were accessed.

One way to ensure no remote execution attacks is to use encryption. RSA certificates help you encrypt data transmission between website servers and clients to ensure better protection.

However, many organizations wonder whether RSA certificates are enough. This article answers all your questions with a comprehensive guide on RSA-based digital certificates.

What are RSA Certificates?

RSA(Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) certificates are digital certificates based on asymmetric encryptions. It uses two separate security key pairs- one for encryption and another for decryptions.

RSA certificates help you secure the communication between a server and a browser. It secures the data first by scrambling the information into a series of random digits, which are hard to crack for hackers.

RSA certificates are popular among businesses because of the complex mathematical equation that prevents cyber attackers from accessing information.

Features of RSA

RSA certificates offer several features that help secure the data for your website.

  • Hard to crack– RSA certificates have complex mathematical equations at the core, which is unbreakable without brute force attack. This means more protection for sensitive data.
  • Enhanced key management– RSA certificates support the generation of keys with varied lengths. This is especially important as higher key size offers enhanced security. With support for different key sizes, suitable keys can be generated to secure data optimally. Applying specific mechanisms also helps you manage key generation, storage, and security.
  • Digital signatures– RSA certificates support creating and verifying digital signatures for your web applications. Digital signatures help you improve customer trust and ensure your web app’s authenticity.
  • Secure communications– RSA certificates enable secure communication between systems through public key cryptography. It ensures that data transmitted during website interaction is secure.
  • Improved SEO– Search engines like Google have specific ranking factors like HTTPS protocol. RSA certificates help you establish HTTPS protocol and improve search engine optimization.

What is the RSA Certificate used for?

RSA certificates have several usages, from data encryptions to web traffic and email security. Specific examples of RSA certificate usage are,

#1. Ecommerce website protection

Ecommerce websites store, process, and analyze users’ sensitive information like financial details, personal data, and location details. Protecting this information requires enhanced security and encryption. RSA certificates provide security to eCommerce website data and ensure compliance with information regulations like PCI DSS.

#2. Financial organizations

Banking organizations and fintech businesses need advanced security measures to ensure secure online transactions. RSA certificates ensure that transactional data exchanged during financial operations are secure from cyberattacks.

#3. Healthcare applications

A key part of a healthcare organization’s operations is to store and analyze patient data. Most healthcare organizations and professionals must comply with HIPAA regulations for storing, analyzing, and processing patient data. RSA certificates use encryption and help you secure patient data from cyberattacks, ensuring compliance with HIPAA.

#4. Internal network security

Enterprises often have multiple applications internally communicating through organizational networks. Ensuring data security changes within the network becomes critical for enterprises. Especially if there is a hybrid approach with several employees working remotely, securing the data transmission becomes essential.

In other words, specific data is exchanged internally while information is synced from remote servers. These remote servers or machines may be accessed through an external network, including the home network systems of each employee.

So, if advanced encryptions are not in place, malicious injections in an employee’s home network can impact your internal servers. RSA certificates can help secure external data synced remotely and protect sensitive information exchanged within an internal network.

#5. Cloud-native applications

Maintaining data privacy and security is essential because users interact with the apps through a network. So, if the network is not secure against cyberattacks, it can lead to data leaks. RSA certificates ensure that user interactions are secure and no data leaks.

How Does an RSA Certificate Work?

The basic process of encrypting data begins when a user requests information through a browser. The website will send its public key when the browser connects to the server for request processing.

The browser will encrypt the information it sends to the server with the public key, and the website will decrypt the data with a private key to start processing. RSA certificates are based on algorithms that use the prime factorization method. This process multiplies two large prime numbers, and the “Modulus” product develops the public key.

Here, only the modulus is made public, hiding the prime numbers at the core of mathematical calculations, which ensures better security. Considering two large prime numbers, p and q, the modulus will be n=pq.

Further, you must choose an exponent “e” to execute mathematical trapdoor functions. Next, you need to select a relative prime number to the quotient on “n, calculated as (p-1)(q-1). Modulus on “n” will give you “d” to develop a private key where

(ed) mod(p-1)(q-1)= 1

Encryption process will begin with the sender of the message raining a power of e to the mod n. If you want to decrypt the same message, the receiver must raise the ciphertext to the power of d mod n.

Is RSA Truly Safe?

RSA certificates use a complex mathematical process that is hard to crack for cyber attackers.

While number theory and mathematical trapdoor functions make specific modulus public simultaneously, the prime numbers stay private, so hackers can’t access the source of the algorithm’s equation.

In other words, RSA certificates provide enhanced security for your websites and web applications. The security of RSA-based digital certificates is higher than its predecessors due to enhanced computational ability, which a cyber attacker needs to crack encryptions.

Key takeaways

Increasing cyberattacks demand advanced protection for your data. This is where RSA certificates can help you reduce the risks of data leaks and improve protection against several malicious cyberattacks. It works on the principle of complex mathematical equations, also known as prime number factorization, which is hard to break for cyberattackers, making it an ideal choice for businesses.

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