Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology is an encrypted protocol that facilitates communications over a computer network. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a more current and more secure version of SSL. SSL now refers to the original SSL and the newer TLS protocols. SSL is used for web browsers, email communications, instant messaging, and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP). The aim of the protocols is to enhance privacy and the integrity of data between computer applications—such as between a web browser and a server.
An SSL certificate is a piece of computer code that meets the following criteria:
- Data encryption. Sensitive information is symmetrically encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. The cryptography is based on shared secrets for each connection. The client and server negotiate how the encryption algorithms and keys will be handled before any data is transmitted. Only the two computing parties can negotiate the shared secret so that attackers cannot access the secrets without being detected.
- Authentication. By using a public-key cryptography, the identity of the computing parties who are trying to communicate can be verified.
- Integrity. Each data message transmission should include a message integrity code to prevent changes to the data or loss of data during the transmission.
Typically, at least one of the communicating businesses, people, or websites must be authenticated – such as the server. Proper SSL/TLS protocols should also ensure that future cryptographic keys cannot be used to decipher any past encrypted keys.
What is SSL cryptography?
SSL encryption uses keys to lock and unlock your data. Public keys are used to encrypt the data transmission. Private keys are then used to decode the information so it can be accessed and understood.
SSL certificates should be issued by a reputable Certificate Authority that can verify the trust level of partners and customers. A Certificate Authority is a third-party who has the jurisdiction to authenticate digital certificates. Digital certificates, in turn, certify that a specific entity owns the public key and defines how that public key is to be used. This allows the corresponding private keys to be deemed trustworthy.
How to determine if a website has a valid SSL or TSL certificate
A primary usage of TLS is for transmitting data over the Internet between a website and a web browser. Most websites begin with the prefix http:// which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In short, the TLS to secure HTTP transmissions is the HTTPS protocol. SSL certificates and the owners of those certificates can be viewed by clicking on the padlock or trust mark on the website.
SSL certification examples
Companies and people might use an SSL certificate for the following reasons:
- To secure email communications from and to your company network
- To secure communications on corporate intranets
- To secure communications between a customer’s browser and your company website
- To secure communications between mobile devices
What are the different kinds of SSL/TSL certificates?
Some of the different types of SSL certificates are:
- Domain validated certificates. This type of certificate verifies that the applicant owns the web domain. There are no checks on the background of the applicant.
- Fully authenticated SSL certificates. This type of certificate verifies the domain name, that the business exists, who owns the domain, and that the applicant has the authority to get the certificate.
- Self-signed certificates. This is not a formal certificate authority. It is really just for internal company usage.
Get more information about SSL/TLSL certificates by calling trusted computer security professionals today
Understanding the latest types of SSL/TSL certificates can increase your company’s security and provide an added layer of comfort and protection for your customers. At Vault Networks, our IT experts work to constantly stay abreast of new security updates and measures. For answers to your questions and to learn the practical and technical benefits of SSL/TSL certificates, please contact Vault Networks to discuss all your computer security concerns.
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