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IPSec Overview Part One: General IPSec Standards

Article Description

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are becoming required expertise for network and security engineers, and IPSec is the most commonly used protocol when implementing VPNs. In this first article of a five-part series on the Cisco implementation of IPSec, Andrew Mason delves into the components that make up the IPSec protocol suite.

Certificate Authorities (CA)

The certificate authority (CA) support of Cisco routers and the PIX Firewall allows the IPSec-protected network to scale by providing the equivalent of a digital identification card to each device. When two IPSec peers want to communicate, they exchange digital certificates to prove their identities (thus removing the need to manually exchange public keys with each peer or to manually specify a shared key at each peer). The digital certificates are obtained from a certificate authority. CA support on Cisco products uses RSA signatures to authenticate the CA exchange.

This brings us to the end of the first part of this five-part series of articles covering IPSec. Be sure to catch the next installment.