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Security Dictionary
Can't tell 'smtp' from 'snmp'? Find the precise meaning of these and hundreds of other security-related terms in our convenient and up-to-date Security Dictionary.
root
(I) A CA that is directly trusted by an end entity. Acquiring the value of a root CA's public key involves an out-of-band procedure.

(I) Hierarchical PKI usage: The CA that is the highest level (most trusted) CA in a certification hierarchy; i.e., the authority upon whose public key all certificate users base their trust. (See: top CA.)

(C) In a hierarchical PKI, a root issues public-key certificates to one or more additional CAs that form the second highest level. Each of these CAs may issue certificates to more CAs at the third highest level, and so on. To initialize operation of a hierarchical PKI, the root's initial public key is securely distributed to all certificate users in a way that does not depend on the PKI's certification relationships. The root's public key may be distributed simply as a numerical value, but typically is distributed in a self-signed certificate in which the root is the subject. The root's certificate is signed by the root itself because there is no higher authority in a certification hierarchy. The root's certificate is then the first certificate in every certification path.

(O) MISSI usage: A name previously used for a MISSI policy creation authority, which is not a root as defined above for general usage, but is a CA at the second level of the MISSI hierarchy, immediately subordinate to a MISSI policy approving authority.

(O) UNIX usage: A user account (also called "superuser") that has all privileges (including all security-related privileges) and thus can manage the system and its other user accounts.

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