On certificate revocation and validation

  • Paul C. Kocher
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1465)


Cryptosystems need to check whether the certificates and digital signatures they are given are valid before accepting them. In addition to providing cryptographically secure validity information, certificate revocation systems must satisfy a variety of challenging technical requirements. The traditional revocation techniques of Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs) and on-line checking are described, as well as a newer technique, Certificate Revocation Trees (CRTs), based on Merkle hash trees. CRTs provide an efficient and highly-scalable way to distribute revocation information. CRT-based systems include Tree Issuers who compile revocation information, Confirmation Issuers who distribute elements from CRTs, and users who accept certificates. CRTs are gaining increased use worldwide for several reasons. They can be used with existing protocols and certificates, and enable the secure, reliable, scalable, and inexpensive validation of certificates (as well as digital signatures and other data).


Cryptographic Operation Certificate Chain Federal Information Processing Standard Certificate Revocation Certificate Revocation List 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    “Information Technology — Open Systems Interconnection — The Directory: Authentication Framework,” ITU-T Recommendation X.509 (1197 E), June 1997.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. Kocher and A. Malpani, “Certificate Revocation Trees,” ValiCert Inc. Technical Specification, Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. Merkle, “Secrecy, Authentication, and Public Key Systems,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, 1979.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    National Institute of Standards and Technology, “Secure Hash Standard,” Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 180-1, April 1995.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul C. Kocher
    • 1
  1. 1.ValiCertPalo AltoUSA

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