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Electronic credit card intended for on-line business transactions and authentications on the Internet. Digital certificates are issued by certification authorities (e.g., VeriSign). They typically contain identification information about the holder, including the person's public key (used for encrypting and decrypting messages), along with the authority's digital signature, so that the recipient can verify with the authority that the certificate is authentic. Web sites may also have digital certificates, to enable a person intending to buy its products to confirm that it is an authenticated e-commerce site.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on digital certificate, visit Britannica.com.
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