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communication process, a client (as usual) contacts the server. The server responds by
sending the client its public key certificate. The client validates the signature on the
certificate (assuming it has access to the certifying authority public key), generates a
symmetric (session) encryption key (this type of key has the property of being able to
both encrypt as well as decrypt clear text), and uses the server's public key to encrypt
the symmetric key, so it may be sent back to the server. To achieve client
authentication, the client would send his certificate back to the server.
While the SSL specification provides for both client and server authentication (as well as
data privacy and integrity), in its first implementation, as used in Netscape products
(and described above), client authentication was not implemented. The Secure HTTP
effort by CommerceNet (a consortium of high technology companies attempting to
bring about more rapid utilization of the Internet for commerce activities) implemented
both client and server authentication. In the S-HTTP model, security is achieved at the
application level; i.e., HTTP has been expanded to incorporate security. In some
respects this makes SHTTP more powerful than SSL in that the negotiation features of
HTTP apply to security. Thus, for instance, any combination of privacy, authentication
and data integrity checking may be specified in a client/server interaction---whereas in
the current production versions of SSL one is forced to always encrypt.
Currently SSL and S-HTTP do not interoperate. Implementations of S-HTTP based
clients and servers in commercial products are few. Implementations of SSL servers
have been much more widespread. SSL based servers and clients which can perform
client authentication are currently under beta-test.
Secure Telemetry Data Sharing
Secure data sharing will occur using the client server paradigm. The server will hold
the files to be shared. Each file has an access control list associated with it, indicating
the individuals who may access each file. The list can be maintained as simple flat file,
or a more complex structure such as a relational database, if other information
regarding the files to be shared must be maintained (e.g. whether a file accessed should
be transmitted encrypted or unencrypted, etc.).
Clients and servers are connected to the Internet. Access to the telemetry files is
managed by a SSL or S-HTTP based Web server. A client wishing to access data
connects to the server using his WWW SSL or S-HTTP capable Web browser.
Authentication of both the server and client are necessary before data transactions can
occur. The client must know that the server is authenticated so he can be assured the
data he is receiving is "legitimate." The server must authenticate the client, so he can be
assured that he is truly dispensing data to the individual listed on the access control list.
The CGI programming environments for both SSL and S-HTTP allow for such security
authentication to be passed to a cgi-bin program. Thus, a cgi-bin dispatcher program
can receive the authentication information, and if authentication is indicated, present
the client with a form which allows him to request data. The dispatcher will typically
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Kalibjian, J. Group telemetry analysis using the World Wide Web, article, December 31, 1996; California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc689039/m1/6/: accessed March 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.