OpenSSL is an open source software system that provides the following:
- Forensic-grade implementations of the most widely used hash functions.
- Symmetric cryptographic functions
- Asymmetric cryptographic function
- Certificate management functions
- A complete S/MIME implementation
- A complete SSL/TLS implementation
OpenSSL is interesting for forensic practitioners and developers because it provides a basic toolkit for building software, and because the higher-level certificate management functions give you an easy way to decode the contents of certificates that are used to secure computer systems.
This web page contains step-by-step instructions on using OpenSSL from the command line to perform specific tasks. There are a lot of online OpenSSL guides and we'll try to link to some of them from here. But this page is a handy reference just the same.
OpenSSL doesn't care what you use for file extensions. However, the following extensions to seem to be commonly used:
|.pem||can contain a private key, public key, or certificate signing request|
|.crt||Windows file extension for a .pem file|
|.p12||a PKCS12 file, which contains a private key and a certificate, encrypted for transport with a passphrase. This is the format that Windows and MacOS like to import|