A Digital Certificate is an attachment to an electronic message used for security purposes. The most common use of a digital certificate is to verify that a user sending a message is who he or she claims to be, and to provide the receiver with the means to encode a reply.
An individual wishing to send an encrypted message applies for a digital certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). The CA issues an encrypted digital certificate containing the applicant's public key and a variety of other identification information. The CA makes its own public key readily available through print publicity or perhaps on the Internet.
The recipient of an encrypted message uses the CA's public key to decode the digital certificate attached to the message, verifies it as issued by the CA and then obtains the sender's public key and identification information held within the certificate. With this information, the recipient can send an encrypted reply.
WHAT IS USB TOKENS?
For security reasons, your Digital Certificate should be stored on a hardware device, such as a Cryptographic USB Token. These tokens store your Digital Certificate securely and ensure that nobody else has access to your private key except you.
One of the most important properties of the cryptographic USB token is that your Private Key stored on the token, can never be copied out of the token. As a result, during a digital signing operation, the Digital Signature is created directly on the token. Security for your Private Key is further enhanced through the mandatory use of a password to access the contents of the cryptographic USB token.
All said and done, the cryptographic USB Token is very simple to use. You simply need to plug the token into the USB port of your computer, provide the password to the token, and perform your signing operations.