What Is Ssl

When you make a purchase online, you want to be sure that you’re buying from a website capable of keeping your personal data and credit card information secure. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol designed to keep your information safe.

What is an SSL Certificate?

A company that wants to use SSL technology on its website must obtain an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is a data file that contains the company name and location, its domain name or server name and possibly its contact information. The company or organization installs this certificate on its server.

You can view the company’s SSL certificate from your browser. Simply right click on the padlock symbol on the bottom edge of your browser and click on “View Certificate.”

How Does the Secure Sockets Layer Protocol Work?

When you’re connected to a website that uses SSL, your browser asks the server to send a copy of its SSL certificate to identify itself. Your browser checks it for authenticity, and if it trusts the certificate, sends a message back to the server. The server then sends an acknowledgment back to begin the encrypted session. Your web browser and the server can now share encrypted data.

If your browser doesn’t trust the server, it alerts you with a pop-up message describing the problem, and you can decide whether you want to continue or exit the website.

Your personal information is protected en route from your computer to the SSL-enabled website and back, but what happens to your information that is stored on the website? The Secure Sockets Layer protocol doesn’t protect stored data, so check the website’s privacy policy to see how the company protects your privacy.

How do I Know a Vendor is Using an SSL Server?

You can verify that a page is secure by locating the letter “s” immediately after the “http” in the address bar. Certain SSL certificates, though not all, turn the address bar green on an SSL-enabled web page. Most websites use SSL technology only on those web pages that require personal data, such as the checkout page.

You can also look for an unbroken padlock on your browser page, either at the bottom of the page or at the top, next to the address bar.