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Domain-validated certificate

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A domain-validated certificate (DV) is an X.509 digital certificate typically used for Transport Layer Security (TLS) where the identity of the applicant has been validated by proving some control over a DNS domain.[1][2]

Contents

Issuing criteriaEdit

The sole criterion for a domain-validated certificate is proof of control over a domain. Typically control over a domain is determined using one of the following:

  • Response to email sent to the email contact in the domain's whois details
  • Response to email sent to a well-known administrative contact in the domain, e.g. (admin@, postmaster@, etc.)
  • Publishing a DNS TXT record
  • Publishing a nonce provided by an automated certificate issuing system

A domain-validated certificate is distinct from an Extended Validation Certificate in that this is the only requirement for issuing the certificate. In particular, domain-validated certificates do not assure that any particular legal entity is connected to the certificate, even if the domain name may imply a particular legal entity controls the domain.

User interfaceEdit

Most web browsers may show a lock (often in grey, rather than the green lock typically used for an Extended Validation Certificate) and a DNS domain name. A legal entity is never displayed, as domain-validated certificates do not include a legal entity in their subject.

CharacteristicsEdit

As the low assurance requirements allow domain-validated certificates to be issued quickly without requiring human intervention, domain-validated certificates have a number of unique characteristics:

  • Domain-validated certificates are used in automated X.509 certificate issuing systems.
  • Domain-validated certificates are often cheap or free.

CriticismEdit

Domain validation reduces validation requirements for both Certificate Authorities and applicants. It does not assert the certificate belongs to a specific real world entity, but rather a DNS domain name - whether that domain has any association with a company or otherwise.

 
A domain validated HTTPS certificate for the domain paypal.com.removed-limits.com, being displayed as 'Secure' in the Chrome web browser.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Domain Validated SSL? Why We Don't Offer It". www.digicert.com. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  2. ^ "Domain Validated SSL Certificates". www.sslshopper.com. Retrieved 2015-09-07.