Why Use SSL Certificates?
If you are anything like me, you may have been browsing the Web then suddenly, a window about SSL popped up, or you might notice a small padlock next to the URL bar.. What does all of this stand for? What does SSL mean? How does SSL benefit both businesses and end users?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it provides security for sensitive information that is transmitted across the Internet. Since all information on the Internet travels across various servers, it is important that information is secure to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. SSL provides a means of ensuring that information remains secure as it travels across the Internet, and secures both sites and user data.
SSL’s Main Function
SSL exists primarily to encrypt data, ensuring that only the entity that it is meant for can understand it. Without encryption, any computer between the initial sender and final receiver would be able to read the data. This could be dangerous if the data being transmitted is important, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or secret company files. Hackers and other malcontents that might want to steal data will have a more difficult time accessing it when SSL certificates are used. Even if hackers successfully break into a connection, they will be hard-pressed to access the data since it is all encrypted.
SSL uses both symmetric and asymmetric encryption to protect data. First, the server creates and sends a copy of its asymmetric key to the browser. Next, the browser creates a symmetric key and encrypts it using the server’s asymmetric key. This symmetric key is then sent to the server. The server decrypts the symmetric key using its asymmetric key. With the symmetric key decrypted, it is used to securely transmit all data between the server and browser. These keys only exist for one session, and if the browser needs to transmit different data in a separate session, the process will play out again with new keys.
SSL Provides Peace of Mind
Whenever a user browses a page that uses SSL, they will be notified by “https” at the start of the URL rather than “http.” Secure pages are also indicated by a small icon, typically a lock in the URL bar. Clicking on this lock will provide more information about the page’s SSL certification, verified by an authority such as GoDaddy or VeriSign that granted the certificate. This means that sites with SSL certification are legitimate, and also reduces the threat of impersonators that may try to create a mock version of a page to steal information. When a user sees the lock icon, they know that they are on a safe page and can carry out their normal business without worry of having their information stolen.
SSL verification tools, such as SSL Shopper’s SSL Checker, can give more detailed information about a site’s certification. This information includes when the certificate was issued, which authority issued it, how long before it expires, and more. With this information, consumers can decide whether or not a site can be trusted.
SSL is Necessary for Online Transactions
If you are running an online store or any other type of site that accepts credit card payments, you will need to have an SSL certificate. Having SSL certification is one of the requirements for a site to be compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. In order to ensure proper protection, at least 128-bit encryption must be used; weaker encryption rates must not be used in compliance with PCI standards. Not only is it the law, but it will also give customers trust knowing that their credit card information is secure. Regardless of the size of a business, it must be compliant with PCI standards in order to be able to store and use customers’ credit card information.
SSL certification is not just important for customers, but it is vital for webmasters. If you want to provide a safe browsing and shopping experience for your clients, then you will have to invest in SSL certification. With this security measure in place, you can be sure that your customers will be able to safely access and trust your website.