SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.” It is a protocol developed by Netscape. SSL is online industry standard used by millions of websites to protect information such as user log-in data, private information such as social security information and credit card details. SSL is a secure protocol that ensures that network transmissions to and from the web server are secure. It ensures the integrity of data transmission, and verifies the identity of the users.
How SSL Works
There are five steps associated with an SSL transmission. These five steps happen within a fraction of second automatically without the end user being aware about them.
Step 1. A browser attempts to connect to a website using SSL. The browser requests the webserver to identify itself.
Step 2. As a proof of identification the webserver sends back a copy of the SSL certificate.
Step 3. Web browser checks the authenticity of the SSL certificate from the certificate issuiog authority. Once confirmed the web brobser sends acknowledgement message to the webserver.
Step 4. The webserver in turn acknowledges the message from the webbrowser by means of a digitally signed acknowledgement.
Step 5. Encrypted data connection is established inbetween the webbrowser and the webserver.
How to recognize if a Website is making use of SSL encryption?
There are two general indications of an SSL secured web page:
Check the URL of the web page: – Usually the URLs (for e.g. https://simpleintelligentsystems.com) of a web page begin with the letters “HTTP”. However in case of an SSL encrypted page you should see “HTTPS” in place of http.
Check for the secure lock Icon: – Look for the secure closed padlock icon in the address bar of the webbrowser. This is an automatic indication from the webbrowser when it has identified and established SSL connection with the webserver. Usually the lock is displayed in green color. Clicking on the padlock icon reveals detailed information about the SSL connection.
Components of SSL certificates
A typical SSL certificate contains owner’s information such as e-mail address, name, certificate usage, validity, distinguished name (DN) and a common name (CN). Along with this the certificate ID of the organization that certify the information can also be queried.
Purpose of using SSL Certificates
SSL is the backbone of secure internet experience. It prevents the Internet from being ruled by smart thieves and cyber criminals and provides numerous direct benefits to internet users. Some of which have been listed below.
A) To Encrypt Sensitive Information
Whenever sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers or other sensitive information is entered into a website the webpage should be protect with SSL encryption.
B) To Gain Customers’ Trust
A secure site with an SSL green padlock icon (a small “lock” icon on the URL of the website) is the grantee of trust. Its easier to convert visitors into customers if the website visitors trust the website. A green padlock icon helps establish trust on the website and encourages website visitors to proceed with sensitive information exchange.
C) Google ranking advantage
SSL connections were trust signal for an e-commerce site from the early days of internet. Modern search Engines such as Google include SSL implementation on web pages as a universal ranking factor. Google is committed to making internet secure. To encourage website owners to use SSL Google is giving a minor ranking advantage to websites that have implemented SSL certifications.
To read more about Google and its official statement about HTTPS please visit the following- HTTPS as a ranking signal
If you have further questions about SSL or if you are looking to have SSL implemented on your website please contact us. We will be glad to assist you in anyways we can.