self-signed certificate

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A self-signed certificate is useful in some circumstances where you need the security of SSL encryption, but do not need certification by a third party.

How to

  • Very brief introduction to create a CA and a CERT
    • If /usr/local/openssl/openssl.cnf.sample does not exist on your system, you can get a copy from MIT.
    • What needs to be changed is mainly the file locations under [ CA_default ]. They seem to presume that you will be executing commands from outside the CA folder, which doesn't work.
    • If you've already got a .key (private key file) and a .crt (certificate file) generated from that key, it looks like you can configure openssl.cnf to point to them and then skip straight to the penultimate command:
      • openssl ca -config openssl.cnf -policy policy_anything -out newcert.pem -infiles tmp.pem
      • I ran all the steps up to that point, but then got errors trying to execute it -- until I repointed openssl.cnf to my pre-existing .crt and .key files.

Even after that, though, sendmail still refused to provide STARTTLS service (despite giving no error messages when loading the configuration).