SSL is a technology secures your transactions, sending between a browser and web server. SSL is established on root certificate, which provides a promise that your SSL certificate is trusted. Root certificate is rooted with a root key which shows durability of a certificate. Here, we will study that are all root keys same or different in terms of their strength. Before going into further discussion let us reveal some basic points associate with root key.
Root Certificate: Root key is an integral part of a root certificate. When a user buys certificate from any Certificate Authority (CA), a root certificate can be signed by a CA. The browser will not recognize the SSL Certificate if it has no root certificate. The most used root certificate is established on the X.509 standard, including a digital signature made from a Certificate Authority. Root certificate carries details of the certificate owner which includes owner’s name, email address, validity period, and usage.
Root Key: The root certificate has two types of keys one is a private key, which is used to decrypt a certificate, and the public key transforms information into an encrypted language. Certificate Authorities apply 1024-bit key and 2048-bit key depending on their strength. These keys are built-in into browsers provide assurance to users about the certificate’s authenticity. You can find the root key length with a click on the certificate. Once a root key is confirmed as a trusted key, all certificate issued on the base of this root key will be count as a legitimate.
Amendment: Now there are lots of sites who are using 1024-bit key, which was corrupted by hackers in 2010. In June, 2012, Microsoft banned on use of less than 1024-bit key, and all certificate authorities will have to implement a minimum 2048-bit key from January 2014 according to CA/B forum.
Reason for Amendments: Behind this amendment, a security precaution is the main reason taken by Microsoft. Now, cryptography policy has been changed because of security weakness. Till 2012 many 1024-bit root keys have been broken by malware attacks in many websites. Now it is time to update them and provide trust to your customers in the form of sturdy security. As we realize that, root key is the pillar of any SSL certificate. The site will be under malware attacks that will use less than 1024-bit key. Now keep it beside let us come to our point that if you use 2048-bit key instead of 1024-bit, will it be safe?
1024 VS. 2048-bit: It is up to any CA to use as much as long root key for their certificate. If you are purchasing SSL for one or two years with 1024-bit key, it will be sufficient security for your browser. As we know amendments will come across the way and if any policy changes occur, user can reissue his certificate with new CSR (Code Signing Request). If you are buying a long validity certificate then, you can also go for 2048-bit certificate. It completely depends upon CA and user that which key length to choose. It is an anonymous liking that changes from person to person.
Conclusion: Through the modification of the key length from 1024-bit to 2048-bit, it has raised a curiosity in online business. The level of protection has also increased as 2048-bit root key is unbeatable. As a SSL provider ClickSSL, is constantly making an effort to bring the top level security that is equipped with a 2048-bit root key. Most SSL Certificate Authorities like GeoTrust, RapidSSL, Thawte, and DigiCert are already applying 2048-bit root key for their SSL certificates. Most SSL certificate providers have now implemented this new update of 2048-bit SSL key length to secure their customers’ confidential data from online frauds.