(SSL) Security Technology Explained

Protecting information is an essential consideration when owning a website. In this post I am going to write about an encryption technology called secure socket layer (SSL). I will describe briefly what it is, what it does and it’s two primary functions.

SSL Defined

Secure socket layer (SSL), is an encryption technology that encrypts information between a website and user. Passwords, usernames and credit card information transfers securely. Having this security feature in place avoids the risk of interception.

A website binds this encryption to the organization responsible for the website using a SSL certificate certified code.

A SSL-certified website operates on a https protocol that activates the browser padlock or a prominent green browser bar, showing visitors it is secure to browse. Websites use SSL to protect customer’s data and transactions.

What does SSL actually do?

SSL encrypts data that is transferred from a web browsers, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome) to a web server. SSL is being used more broadly than in the past where it was primarily used for protecting sensitive information like credit card information. These days it’s being adopted on a wider basis.

Opening a secure website, will activate the SSL protocol when the browser connects to the web server over the inherently insecure internet. Information exchanged during any browsing session is vulnerable without the SSL protocol in place.

Transferring data from a web browser to the website server can be intercepted by eavesdroppers. They can see what you’re doing online, but also intercept and manipulate the information. Hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPs) sites prevents this from happening.

A website using the HTTPS protocol protects personal data. This data can include login passwords,bank account details and credit card information. SSL also secures online activities, such as emailing and chatting.

Primary Functions of SSL

There are two specific functions of SSL certification.

Authentication and Verification

Certificate Authorities includes domain name providers. The SSL certificates contain details regarding the accuracy of the of the identity of the person or company holding issuance.

Look for the following when determining if an SSL connection is in place:

HTTPS is in place at the beginning of the URL
A padlock in lock position is visible
address bar may be green.

If SSL security is not in place you will see (not secure) wording in front of the URL in the address bar; as well, there may be warning messages prior to proceeding to the website.

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