SSL Certificates
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SSL Certificates

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We live in an age of technology. Almost everything we do is connected to the internet and requires some form of security, be it social media or online shopping. SSL Certificates are one way that people can ensure their security over the internet, but what exactly are they?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a protocol used to protect important information as it is sent from one computer to another through the use of encryption. The information being sent needs encryption because it travels through third parties such as computers and routers which could have very well been compromised by hackers. Without encryption, if someone were able to access that data during transmission, they would be able to read all messages sent between both devices without anyone knowing – this is called eavesdropping. This is a major cause of concern for many people. You don’t want to be sending your credit card details, social security number or any other very sensitive information that could result in loss of money or identity theft without encryption.

For example, here’s a simple analogy:

You’re walking through town and you pass someone on the street; they have earphones in listening to music so you can’t hear what song they are listening to, but you catch a glimpse of the name on their playlist just as they swipe past it – ‘secret.’ What happens if they walk into a shop and type their pin into the payment machine? Will this put them at risk?

No, because encryption is being used here however there are several third parties on this journey. Will the information be safe?

The answer is yes, because it’s encrypted and sent over SSL, but if someone were able to watch that transaction as a form of eavesdropping they would have access to their pin which could lead to them being able to make fraudulent payments with their card or even hold up the shop and demand money at gunpoint due to knowing their pin number. Is this a risk you want to take?

Of course not! So just imagine how important those third parties on your path are, right? That they should be sending information securely too so that no one can steal your identity or blackmail you into giving away money for free. This is where SSL comes in – it’s the protocol used when transferring information, and it has specific rules for what information is sent securely and how to do it. To put it simply, if information is transferred over SSL then you can be sure that the communication between both points has been encrypted so no one in-between can read your data.

The certificate itself contains a public key which is used by the web server (SSL terminates at the web server) to encrypt sensitive information before sending it over SSL. The private key decrypts the message once received on the web server. This way only people with access to your private key will be able to decode any messages sent from your website (SSL only protects data in transit from client to host).

It’s quite hard explaining all this without going into much more detail however the best way to learn is by doing so definitely have a go at using SSL certificates as it will only enhance your knowledge and understanding of this crucial protocol.

SSL Certificates, also known as digital certificates, are essentially public keys to encrypt information sent over the internet. They’re an integral part of protecting your data and provide authentication on websites. When you connect to a website that uses SSL, such as Facebook or Windows Live Mail, you’ll see https:// in the web address rather than http:// because this tells you that the connection between you and the server has been encrypted to protect any sensitive data being transferred. The certificate or ‘digital identity’ can be used across multiple sites if required but most people will have them for their website.

The certificate itself contains a public key which is used by the web server (SSL terminates at the web server) to encrypt sensitive information before sending it over SSL. The private key decrypts the message once received on the web server. This way only people with access to your private key will be able to decode any messages sent from your website (SSL only protects data in transit from client to host).

It’s quite hard explaining all this without going into much more detail however the best way to learn is by doing so definitely have a go at using SSL certificates as it will only enhance your knowledge and understanding of this crucial protocol.

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