[z/OS][AIX Solaris HP-UX Linux Windows]


Authentication verifies identity.

The server uses authentication in two ways:
  • Digital signature. A digital signature represents a unique mathematically computed signature that ensures accountability. Think of a digital signature as similar to a credit card, on which your photo displays. To verify the identity of the person that is sending you a message, look at the digital certificate of the sender.
  • Digital certificate. A digital certificate, or digital ID, is similar to having a credit card with a picture of the bank president with his arm around you. A merchant trusts you more because not only do you look like the picture on the credit card, the bank president trusts you, too.

    You base your trust of the sender authenticity on whether you trust the third party, a person, or agency that certified the sender. The third party issuing digital certificates is called a certificate authority (CA) or certificate signer.

    A digital certificate contains:
    • The public key of the person getting certified
    • The name and address of the person or organization getting certified, also known as the distinguished name
    • The digital signature of the CA
    • The issue date of the certificate
    • The expiration date of the certificate

    You enter your distinguished name as part of a certificate request. The digitally signed certificate includes your distinguished name and the distinguished name of the CA.

    You can request one of the following certificates:
    • A server certificate to do commercial business on the Internet from VeriSign or some other CA. For a list of supported CAs, see Buying a certificate from an external CA provider.
    • A server certificate that you create for your own private Web network.

    CAs broadcast their public key and distinguished name bundled together so that people add them to their Web servers and browsers, as a trusted CA certificate. When you designate the public key and certificate from a CA to become a trusted CA certificate, your server trusts anyone who has a certificate from that CA. You can have many trusted CAs as part of your server. The HTTP Server includes several default trusted CA certificates.

    [AIX Solaris HP-UX Linux Windows]You can add or remove trusted CAs using the IBM® Key Management utility (ikeyman) that is included with your server.

    [z/OS]You can add or remove trusted CAs using the native z/OS® key management (gskkyman).

    To communicate securely, the receiver in a transmission must trust the CA who issued the sender certificate. This situation remains true whether the receiver is a Web server or a browser. When a sender signs a message, the receiver must have the corresponding CA-signed certificate and public key designated as a trusted CA certificate.