Java Security Certificate — 6 Things You Need to Understand Before Purchasing One

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When it comes to a Java security certificate, ignorance can be cruel

What do people mean when they mention the term “Java security certificate?” Do they mean an SSL certificate, or is there something else they’re trying to convey? How does an SSL certificate work in Java?

If you happen to relate to any of the above questions, then you’ve come to the perfect place. In this article, we’ll be talking about Java security certificates and things you need to understand about them. So, let’s get started!

1. What is a Java Security Certificate?

If you think that a Java security certificate is the same thing as an SSL certificate, then you’re absolutely right. When people talk about security certificates, they usually mean SSL/TLS certificates. That’s the first thing you need to understand.

Now, let’s turn our attention to SSL certificates. An SSL certificate enables a secure HTTPS connection between the client and the server. In other words, it secures the communication taking place between both. This is done by three important things:

  1. Identity Verification: One important thing an SSL certificate does is the verification of identity. In other words, it allows us to make sure that the client and server are talking to the right parties.
  2. Data Encryption: A major function of an SSL certificate is the encryption of data. An SSL certificate turns the data into an undecipherable format so that no hacker can come in between and steal the original data.
  3. Data Integrity: An SSL certificate only allows the verified entity to decrypt the original data. This thwarts data tampering man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks by cyber perpetrators.

2. Types of SSL Certificates

This comes as a surprise to many, but there are actually different types of SSL certificates. These SSL certificate types are based on the validation process you perform. SSL certificates are issued by entities known as certificate authorities (CAs). The CAs are recognized and approved authorities for issuing SSL certificates. When you submit a request for an SSL certificate, a CA performs a vetting process to make sure that you’re a legitimate entity. There are three types of such processes and, therefore, three types of SSL certificates.

  1. Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificate
    A DV SSL certificate is the most basic kind of  certificate. It requires your domain ownership to be validated. The verification process of DV SSL certificates is entirely automated and can be completed within minutes. One major drawback of these SSL certificates is that they don’t display the organization/company name. So, in case you have customer-facing websites, then you might want to consider the other two types of SSL certificates.
  2. Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificates:
    An OV SSL certificate, as the name suggests, is the type of SSL certificate that involves the verification of the organization wanting to get an SSL certificate with its name. This is a mid-level SSL certificate that includes your organization name in the certificate details. Therefore, anybody clicking on the certificate details will be able to verify that the website belongs to the organization that it says.

Although you get your organization name in the certificate, what you don’t get with an OV SSL certificate is the most widely recognized security indicator that is the green address bar that is used for certain major browsers. It typically takes 1-3 days to get an OV SSL certificate issued.

3. Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates
EV SSL certificates are the most advanced and the most complete type of SSL certificates you can get. To get an SSL certificate issued, you need to undergo a thorough verification process that will involve validating your organization and government records.

The most striking feature of EV SSL certificates is the most coveted green address bar that displays your organization name in it for various major browsers. This inspires instant trust and increases the likelihood of conversion rate.

3. How does a SSL/TLS Certificate Work?

An SSL certificate works on the technology regarded as “public key infrastructure (PKI)” or “asymmetric encryption.” This involves the use of two cryptographic keys that are used for the encryption and decryption of the data. These keys are distinct, yet they’re mathematically related to each other. They’re known as the “private key” and “public key.” 

As you can guess by its name, the public key is available publicly. It’s usually stored by the browsers, and it’s used to encrypt the data. These keys come in a pair, so the data encrypted by a public key can only be decrypted using the private key related to it. The private key, as the name suggests, is supposed to be kept securely on the web server. Therefore, only the verified web server can decrypt the data. The private key comes as part of a bunch of files issued by certificate authority when it issues the certificate.

4. Java TrustStore & KeyStore

When a certificate authority issues an SSL certificate, it doesn’t issue its root certificate. Instead, it creates another certificate that’s linked to the root certificate and signs it. The Java TrustStore consists of these root certificates of trusted certificate authorities (CAs). The TrustStore is bundled with the JDK/JRE and is located in $JAVA_HOME/lib/security/cacerts.

The Java KeyStore is similar to the TrustStore, but it stores Java security certificate (SSL certificate) that’s been signed and issued by the certificate authority. Whenever the client contacts s the server and wants to verify its identity, it accesses the certificate stored in the KeyStore.

5. How to Install an SSL Certificate?

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to SSL installation as the process differs from server to server. But you don’t need to worry as we have detailed SSL installation guides for all the popular web servers. 

6. Do I Need a Java Security Certificate?

Had you asked this question five years back, then it’d have been a legitimate question, but it’s not even a question anymore. Because if you don’t install an SSL certificate on your website, your website visitors will face a big, stark warning by browsers, and that’s bound to have an impact on your business. You need an SSL certificate; it’s as simple as that!

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