In PKI there are different terms to identify certificate authorities in the chains. All terms I know of are as follow:
I see all terms used interchangeably in the combination with “certificate authority (CA)” and “certificate”. I read a lot of web pages as well as books and my personal understanding from all of this is as follow:
- A CA is called a root if it’s certificate has no super certificate.
- A CA is called a subordinate if it’s intermediate certificate has a super certificate of another subordinate or root CA.
What is the actual meaning of the four terms and their relation to each other?
How is this question of a practical matter to cryptography?
I‘m not entirely sure if this question fits this StackExchange or if it should go somewhere else. However, I consider this question to be directly related to cryptography since it is about PKI and the nomenclature is specific to the world of cryptography and PKI.
The practical matter comes into play during communication – especially in documentation – regarding PKI, CAs, and certificates.