What are digital certificates?

Definition and types

Digital certificates are digital documents through which a trusted third party (Certification Authority or Trust Service Provider) guarantees the link between the identity of a person or entity and his public key. A digital certificate can be issued in different formats and intended for different user profiles. There are certificates issued in both hardware and software format.

  • Hardware format: Mostly used in SmartCards, such as the latest Spanish eID card.
  • Software format: In this case, the Trust Service Provider issues the certificate in a file, normally .p12 or .pfx extensions which are installed in the web browser or operating system.

Status of certificates

Every digital certificate can be validated, thus determining its status. A certificate can be:

  • Valid
  • Revoked
  • Suspended
  • Non-recognized

Certification Authorities

Viafirma allows you to use different types of digital certificates issued by Certification Authorities (CA). Nowadays, this is an automated process in the EU thanks to eIDAS Regulation.

For the rest of the countries, incorporating a new TSP on our list is simple. We just get in touch with them and through Certification Policies we have a general view on both hierarchy and types of certificates.

We are constantly incorporating new TSP to our list. You therefore do NOT need to purchase additional software. Viafirma allows you to operate with any TSP that complies with X509 v3 standards. We commit to add the new TSP to our list in no time.

You can check our supported TSP here.


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