Millions of users send sensitive information over the Internet every day. Transmitting unsecured data, such as bank statements or social security numbers, might result in the data being intercepted by a third party.
The SSL certificate is the most common security protocol for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. However SSL was replaced by TLS (Transport Layer Security) some time ago, the name “SSL” is still used to refer to this technology.
SSL Certificates Explained
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a protocol that provides security for data transmission over the internet. SSL Certificate is a digital certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA) that enables the holder to encrypt and decrypt data using public-key cryptography.
Internet browsers can use SSL certificates to authenticate secure websites and encrypted communication channels, as well as to encrypt sensitive information transmitted online.
What is an SSL Certificate and How does SSL/TLS Work?
Each TLS certificate is made up of a public key and a private key pair. Because they act behind the scenes during online transactions, these keys are necessary.
- The client-server and web browser interact each time you enter a website to maintain a secure TLS/SSL encrypted connection.
- When a web browser (or client) navigates to a secure site, the website server exchanges its TLS/SSL certificate and public key with the client in order to create a secure communication and a unique session key.
- The browser verifies that it recognizes and accepts the SSL certificate’s issuer or Certificate Authority. The browser additionally verifies that the TLS/SSL certificate is valid, has not expired, and has not been revoked.
- The server decrypts the symmetric session key with its private key after receiving it from the client. To begin the encrypted session, the server sends back an acknowledgment encrypted with the session key.
The session key is now used by both the server and the browser to encrypt any sent data. They start a secure session that protects the privacy, integrity, and security of the messages as well as the server.
The Importance of SSL Certificates in Today’s Digital Economy
It is a shame that the internet has become a breeding ground for fraudsters and cyber-criminals. In this digital economy, the need for SSL certificates has become even more important.
SSL establishes confidence by allowing consumers to communicate with web services through a security gateway. Users have more confidence in web services because they know their data is secure being transported, and customer retention and reliability are better.
How to Detect Whether Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate?
If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, your browser shows a warning message to users. Also, you can see your website address just HTTP, not HTTPS. A website with SSL/TLS certificates has an HTTPS prefix in its domain name.