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Security certificates for web applications

Posted on 2004-09-13
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Hello,

I have a web application and Internet users update my database via that web application (it's nothing to do with credit cards or something else. It's just important data to my Internet users). If I'd like to offer more security to my users for their database-update process, what kind of security certificates  (like "ISO9000") do I have to implement? Or is there "something" that just buying from Verisign will solve that issue?
Can anyone explain me something else about it?
Thank you!
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Question by:mogulwindows
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by:PsiCop
ID: 12047026
ISO9000 is an organizational and documentation standards set - has nothing to do with securing web applications.

You may be thinking of X.509.
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PsiCop earned 190 total points
ID: 12047156
OK, first, you need a webserver that supports SSL. You haven't stated what webserver you use, but if you've got the market leader, Apache (according to Netcraft, Apache hosts 2/3rds of all websites), it does. Your platform (*NIX, Linux, NetWare, Windoze, whatever) may also require the addition of SSL support. Again, you haven't revealed anything about what you're using, so being specific is impossible.

So, you get an SSL certificate. These can be issued by "trusted" 3rd parties (e.g. VeriCrooks, Thawte, Ice Warp, et. al.), or, if your SSL support infrastructure will allow you, you can issue your own (you can do this with OpenSSL on *NIX/Linux platforms, NetWare includes a CA that can issue self-signed certificates, etc.)

The advantage to getting a commercially-supplied certificate is that most web-browsers are already configured to accept these 3rd party CAs as "trusted". If you roll-your-own, the users will be prompted as to if they wish to accept your certificate, since your CA is not going to be listed on the browser's list of approved CAs. Also, you don't have to set up your one Certificate Authority (CA) server (again, what platform you have may make this easier or harder).

OK< so now, one way or another, you have a certificate and a CA that will verify the certificate. You configure your webserver to use the certificate for SSL - exactly how you do that depends on the webserver. You then optionally or forcefully re-direct your application clients to the SSL-secured site. Their browser gets the server's certificate, verify it with the CA, and negotiate a secure connection between the browser and the server. The application's connection is now reasonably secure.
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