Self-Signed Certificates

A self-signed certificate is a digital certificate not signed by any publicly trusted Certificate Authority (CA). Self-signed certificates include SSL/TLS certificates, code signing certificates, and S/MIME certificates. Self-Signed certificates are created, issued, and signed by the organization responsible for the website or the signed software.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-signed Certificates

Advantages:

  • Self-signed certificates are free.
  • They are suitable for internal network websites and development/testing environments.
  • Encryption and Decryption of the data is done with the same ciphers used by paid SSL certificates

Disadvantages

  • Browsers and Operating Systems do not trust self-signed certificates since a Publicly trusted CA does not sign them. Browsers would not show the green lock symbol or other visual indicators of trust.
  • Attackers can generate self-signed certificates, which can be used for man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, leaving users vulnerable to data theft and other forms of cyber-attacks.