Article: Introducing SSL and Certificates using SSLeay

The article, Introducing SSL and Certificates using SSLeay was originally published in Web Security: A Matter of Trust, the World Wide Web Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3, Summer 1997. The author,Frederick Hirsch, was at the Open Group Research Institute at the time. It is available in online form here.

This article was also used as the basis, with revision by Ralph Engelschall, as introductory information for the Apache web server mod_ssl module documentation.

Since the article was published, some changes have occured in browser technology, simplifing the process. Some corrections have also been noted.

Wide Web Journal


Since the article was written is has become much easier to import client certificates into a browser, eliminating much of the need for the complicated Javascript and Perl code to perform this function. Both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer support directly importing certificates.

In Internet Explorer (e.g. 5.0), the certificate import wizard may be accessed by selecting the Internet Options menu item in the Tools menu, then selecting the content tab and pushing the certificates button in the certificates section. This brings up the Certificate Manager pane. Pushing the import button starts the import wizard which allows importing a single client certificate stored in a single file at one time, in one of the following formats:

Netscape Navigator (e.g. 4.5) supports a similar facility. Selecting the Tools menu item in the Communicator menu, and then the Security Info menu item in the side menu causes the Security Info pane to appear. Clicking on the Yours link in the Certificates section causes the import pane to appear. Pushing the Import a Certificate button makes it possible to import a client certificate stored in PKCS#12 format in a file.


Ralph Engelschall mentioned the following corrections:
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