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View Information About a Certificate

Anywhere X.509 certificates are listed, you can select a certificate and view information about it. For example, certificates are listed on the Digital Signatures tab of File Properties if you have a certificate of your own or if a selected file in an archive has a signature attached. You can also export any public key certificates that you do not already have installed on your system.

Note: Files signed or encrypted with OpenPGP do not include this information.

To view summary information about a certificate in a list of certificates:

1.  Select the certificate you are interested in.

2.  Click View Certificate to open Certificate Properties.

The General tab of Certificate Properties gives summary information about a selected certificate and tells whether it is valid. In particular, the tab lists:

  • Whether the certificate is revoked

  • Whether the certificate is expired; whether its period of validity extends past the period of validity of the certificate used to issue the selected certificate (in other words, is the selected certificate time-nested)

  • Whether the certificate is trusted

Ordinarily, a certificate is valid if it passes these tests. See About Certificate Validity.

To view more details about the certificate: Select the Details tab.

View Issuer Certificate Button

Certificates are issued in certificate chains: that is, one certificate may be issued by another certificate further back in the chain. The chain starts with a root certificate issued by a trusted certificate authority.

If the certificate you are examining was issued and signed by another certificate, you can click View Issuer Certificate to open another Certificate Properties dialog containing information about that certificate.

Export Public Keys to Your System

A certificate has two keys:

  • A private key, used for signing and decrypting

  • A public key, used for authenticating a signature and for encrypting for the owner of the certificate

If an archive is signed or contains signed files, certificates that have the public keys needed to authenticate the signatures are included in the archive. You can export these public key certificates to install on your system if you do not already have them. (A method that works on most Windows systems is to right-click the exported certificate file in Windows Explorer and choose Install certificate.) Once the certificate is installed, you can use its key with email that you send or receive from the owner.

To export public keys for certificates used to sign files in the current archive:

  1. Choose Export to open a Save As dialog.
  2. Enter a name and location for the file.

Smartcrypt saves the certificate in DER Encoded Binary X.509 format and attaches the file name extension .cer unless you specify a different one. This is the conventional extension for this type of file.

Note: A .cer file contains a single public key certificate.

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