In the following parts, we go into more detail as to how you can use certificates to provide secure Web communications, secure mail and code exchanges, and secure network access authentication.This document focuses on the Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 releases of the Windows OS.
For example, for a root CA, the certification path is one certificate: its own self-signed certificate.
A public key certificate, usually just called a certificate, is a digitally signed statement that’s commonly used for authentication and to secure information on open networks.
A certificate securely binds a public key to the entity that holds the corresponding private key.
One of the main benefits of certificates is that hosts no longer need to maintain a set of passwords for individual subjects who need to be authenticated as a prerequisite to access.
Instead, the host merely establishes trust in a certificate issuer.