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I'm hosting a service over HTTPS which I'd like to make fairly secure. I've heard that it's possible to create server keys which require specific client keys installed on a enduser's keyring. Is this possible, and how is it done using OpenSSL?

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2 Answers 2

The keys do not require other keys. You make keys the standard way.

What you have to do is setup your web server software to require a certificate key be sent when the client makes the request. You also must configure the server to point at a database of permitted keys, or permitted certificate authorities that you trust to issue certificates.

The exact details depend on the what server software you are using.

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This is actually a web server configuration, rather than anything specific to SSL.

Here's the Apache HOWTO on requiring client certificates:

How can I force clients to authenticate using certificates?

So, you would create your own Certificate Authority, and then sign client certificates using that authority. Apache will then be configured to accept those certificates. OpenSSL has some documentation here. You should be able to find other references online, perhaps with more detail if that's required.

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