SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and, in short, it’s the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data that is being sent between two systems, preventing criminals from reading and modifying any information transferred, including potential personal details. The two systems can be a server and a client (for example, a shopping website and browser) or server to server (for example, an application with personal identifiable information or with payroll information).
In the era of World War II, when the communication systems were invented, the data transition security was considered the main loophole. Enemies could easily intercept the data that transited from one communication system to the other, which finally gave rise to data transition security. Similarly when the internet was in it’s beginning stage, sensitive data (which can be credit card info, or a classified document) could be intercepted by the hackers, without the knowledge of both the sender as well as the receiver. This have rise to SSL and hence an entirely separate communication protocol- HTTPS which stood for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secured.
TLS or Transport Layer Security is just an updated, more secure, version of SSL. We still refer to our security certificates as SSL because it is a more commonly used term, but when you are buying SSL from Symantec you are actually buying the most up to date TLS certificates with the option of ECC, RSA or DSA encryption.
It does secure the website by making sure that any data transferred between users and sites, or between two systems remain impossible to read. It uses encryption algorithms to scramble data in transit, preventing hackers from reading it as it is sent over the connection. This information could be anything sensitive or personal which can include credit card numbers and other financial information, names and addresses
Google has officially announced that its search engine would now display warnings for regular HTTP sites too, insisting the imposition of SSL over each and every website on the Internet.
How to get SSL certificate for my website?
Getting an SSL certificate for a website is a very easy task to do. You just need to have control over your domain for a website verification process. There are many Certification Authorities that offer this SSL certificate for costs that are reasonable for the purpose they are built.
Some famous certification authorities are:-
- COMODO Inc.
- Let’s Encrypt Inc.
- DigiCert Inc.
- Verisign Inc.
Some certification authorities like Let’s Encrypt offer these certificates for zero cost. These need to be renewed (also for free) on a 3-month basis.
COMODO and Verisign is mostly chosen by those who need a long term security plan, especially those websites associated with a very large daily traffic and the one which deals with tons of sensitive data on daily basis. That is the reason why these licenses are quite costly for a common man.
What is HTTPS?
As discussed earlier, HTTP is a secure version of HTTP. When a HTTP port (TCP Port 80 in general) is globally forwarded to HTTPS port ( Port 443 in general) with a valid signed SSL certificate, the site is said to be using the HTTPS protocol.
But, the sad part of this intense security is that even after applying these sorts of layers of security, we cannot stop phishing or a man-in-the middle attack, which uses social engineering. For that, the user must be updated with facts about how to prevent the above stated situations.