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I find it really hard to find online resources which go through the details of the following aspects of SSL work.

Is a certificate of a website signed with the public key of a Certificate Authority, or does the browser actually contact the Certificate Authority to verify the certificate...

Any good and clear technical sources for info are greatly appreciated.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

http://www.moserware.com/2009/06/first-few-milliseconds-of-https.html decribes it en detail.

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in two words: yeah! finally! To bad it doesn't have references, but other than that, it confirms what I thought, so I trust it. Great article. – ufotds Oct 10 '10 at 19:50
    
ps: Im going to turn of my wireshark now, because the work has been done. – ufotds Oct 10 '10 at 19:50
    
for further information you can read the corresponding RFCs 5246, etc. But in my opinion most RFCs are dry to read. – omnibrain Oct 10 '10 at 19:55
    
I have to take my words back btw, the article does have references, but not as foothnotes, just as links in the text. I did look at that rfc, but it is particularly dry and I did not manage to extract the information I was looking for in an efficient manner. – ufotds Oct 10 '10 at 20:37

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