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Certificates Technical Reference

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Digital certificates are electronic credentials that are used to certify the online identities of individuals, computers, and other entities on a network. Digital certificates function similarly to identification cards such as passports and drivers’ licenses. They are issued by certification authorities (CAs) that must validate the identity of the certificate holder, both before the certificate is issued and when the certificate is used. Common uses include business scenarios requiring authentication, encryption, and digital signing.

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