Cryptography Tutorials - Herong's Tutorial Examples - Version 5.21, by Dr. Herong Yang

Viewing Certificate Details

This section provides a tutorial example on how to view certificate details when visiting an 'https' Web site in Firefox 18.

When you visit a "https" Web server, it will send its certificate to your browser. Server's certificate is needed by the browser for these 2 tasks:

  • Your browser must validate the certificate to determine that the Web site can be trusted or not before doing any further communications.
  • Your browser must use the public key in the certificate to help secure the communication messages sent and received.

Normally, your browser will do these 2 tasks automatically without your interaction. You don't need to know where is the server certificate and what's in the certificate.

But since I am interested to learn more about "https" communication, I want to see the server certificate. Here is what did on Firefox 18 to see details of the server certificate.

1. Run Firefox 18 and go to https://login.yahoo.com and wait for the log in page to be loaded.

2. Click the lock icon in front of the Web address. The Page Info dialog box shows up with the Security tab selected.

3. Click the "View Certificate" button. The Certificate Viewer dialog box shows up. The General tab tells me this information:

This certificate has been verified for the following uses:
 SSL Server Certificate

Issued to
Common Name (CN)   login.yahoo.com
Organization (O)   Yahoo! Inc.
...

Issued by
Common Name (CN)   DigiCert Assurance CA-3
Organization (O)   DigiCert Inc
...

Validity
Issued On          1/9/2012
Expires On         3/14/2014

Fingerprints
SHA1 Fingerprint   68:22:...
MD5 Fingerprint    94:28:...

4. If you click the Details tab, you will see more information about this certificate. See the picture below:
Firefox Certificate Detail View

Cool. Now I see details of a real certificate for commercial uses.

While on the Details tab of the Certificate Viewer, you can also:

  • Look at each certificate of the Certificate Hierarchy.
  • Export any certificate in the Certificate Hierarchy to a certificate file.
  • Installing certificates into the browser is not supported.

Last update: 2013.

Table of Contents

 About This Book

 Cryptography Terminology

 Cryptography Basic Concepts

 Introduction to DES Algorithm

 DES Algorithm - Illustrated with Java Programs

 DES Algorithm Java Implementation

 DES Algorithm - Java Implementation in JDK JCE

 DES Encryption Operation Modes

 DES in Stream Cipher Modes

 PHP Implementation of DES - mcrypt

 Blowfish - 8-Byte Block Cipher

 Secret Key Generation and Management

 Cipher - Secret Key Encryption and Decryption

 Introduction of RSA Algorithm

 RSA Implementation using java.math.BigInteger Class

 Introduction of DSA (Digital Signature Algorithm)

 Java Default Implementation of DSA

 Private key and Public Key Pair Generation

 PKCS#8/X.509 Private/Public Encoding Standards

 Cipher - Public Key Encryption and Decryption

 MD5 Mesasge Digest Algorithm

 SHA1 Mesasge Digest Algorithm

 OpenSSL Introduction and Installation

 OpenSSL Generating and Managing RSA Keys

 OpenSSL Managing Certificates

 OpenSSL Generating and Signing CSR

 OpenSSL Validating Certificate Path

 "keytool" and "keystore" from JDK

 "OpenSSL" Signing CSR Generated by "keytool"

 Migrating Keys from "keystore" to "OpenSSL" Key Files

 Certificate X.509 Standard and DER/PEM Formats

 Migrating Keys from "OpenSSL" Key Files to "keystore"

 Using Certificates in IE (Internet Explorer)

Using Certificates in Firefox

 Visiting a "https" Web Site with Firefox

Viewing Certificate Details

 Managing Certificates in Certificate Stores

 Exporting Certificates Out of Firefox

 OpenSSL Viewing Certificates Exported from Firefox

 Importing CA Certificate into Firefox

 Importing Certificate Path into Firefox

 Using Certificates in Google Chrome

 Outdated Tutorials

 References

 Printable Copy - PDF Version

Viewing Certificate Details - Updated in 2014, by Dr. Herong Yang