What is SSL?

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Last Updated on March 19, 2023

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a standard security technology that establishes an encrypted connection between a server and a client. SSL is typically used for web access, i.e., a browser, email server, or client such as Outlook.

Using SSL enables sensitive information to be transmitted securely, introducing safety into the inputting of social security and credit card numbers, or login credentials. Without SSL normal information is sent in a plain text format that is vulnerable to anyone able to intercept the connection. If an attacker is able to access the connection, then all of the sensitive data is viewable and able to be exploited.

As a standard security protocol, it depicts the level of security by choosing the algorithms and variables used when creating an encryption for both the link between as well as the data itself. Many websites utilize SSL regularly for online transactions and confidential data transmitted. It is easily determinable if SSL is being used when online. If the web address begins with “https” rather than “http,” then the connection is encrypted.

SSL relies heavily on certificates to secure any data, because without a valid certificate the connection cannot be made between the client and server. Each certificate includes a public key and a private key that is created by a CSR—a Certificate Signing Request—that sends the authorized set of keys to your server. Then, this CSR data is sent to an SSL Certificate Issuer (a Certificate Authority (CA)) that contains the public key, that is then matched up with a data structure to match the private key. This all ensures a safe link secured from prying eyes.

These certificates issued by the CA verifies that a third party—such as a webpage—has successfully authenticated that organization’s identity as legitimate.

SSL is one of the most important factors of any online component, since it assures customers of a trusted environment with confidence in its integrity.

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