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A digital certificate is an electronic document which links a public key to a person or a company in a public key infrastructure enabling the user(s) to send encrypted and digitally signed electronic messages. The certificate identifies the user and is required to verify his digital signature. The certificate contains information about the identity and public key of the person/company as well as the certificate's expiration date. Furthermore, the certificate may contain information about the usage of the certificate. Each certificate is signed with the private key of the CA. It vouches for an individual or organisational identity. A digital certificate can be compared to a driver's license or an ID card in that it authorises the bearer to conduct certain operations, hence making it possible to secure e-business activities.

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