With the advancement in technology in communication, the world is equally witnessing increased cases of hacking or unauthorized hijacking of private/confidential and sensitive user data. The hacked or hijacked data can be used by the adversary to make unauthorized transactions, or it can be sold to third-parties for marketing purposes. As a result, parties that hold or process critical or sensitive information are expected to put in place measures that can protect such information from unauthorized hands. The best solution currently in the market is the use of secure socket layer certificates (SSL) that ensures there’s end-end protection of communication or processing of data.
SSL is a protocol that encrypts communication such that when someone tries to intercept it, it becomes extremely hard to decode the message in the communication. SSL operates based on the use of cryptographic keys, such that the recipient of the encrypted communication decodes the message using a private key. Therefore, the SSL certificates simplify the process of sharing these keys from the SSL server to the client machine (local machine).
There are three types of SSL certificates that someone can choose from namely, single, wildcard and multi-domain. Single SSL helps in securing an independent domain name. It can also secure one sub-domain. On the other hand, wildcard SSL can be used t secure a single domain name with multiple subdomains. Lastly, Multi-domain SSL is used to give security to several domains.
Therefore, for an organization to become SSL-certified, its website’s domain name and host name and identity must be bound together and assigned a cryptographic key to identify it. Once the binding happens, the connections to the organization’s servers become secure; ensuring that no credit card or login information or social media sites browsing can be stolen when users give them out on the organization’s site.
SSL certificate (digital certificate) plays a significant role in authenticating the website’s identity thus ensuring that the website visitors are on the intended website, and not redirected to a bogus site. The certificate also secures the data sent from the web browser to the server.
Access to all web servers that have SSL certificates can be identified by just looking at the application protocol (HTTP) on the browser’s web address. It has an HTTPS prefix instead of HTTP. It also has padlock sign indicating that the organization is authentic and secure. In the browser’s address bar, this sign is also followed by the identity of the site’s owner.