What Is SSL? and Everything You Need To Know about it

What is SSL ?

SSL is a name that everybody who has been on the internet must have heard for. Short for Secure Sockets Layer, SSL is the standard security technology used for establishing an encrypted link between the browser and the web server. The reason why this link is built is that it ensures that all the data communication remains secure.

SSL, therefore, is definitely related to the security concerns we all have while using browsers and the internet in general.

SSL allows the sensitive information such as social security numbers, credit cards, and other login details to get transmitted securely. Usually, the data is sent between the web servers and browsers and is usually sent in the form of a plain text. However, if the attacker is able to intercept the data that is being sent between the web browser and the browser, they can still see the information and use it as well.

SSL can be referred to as a security protocol. The protocol determines how the algorithms should be used. The SSL protocol determines the variables for the encryption of the link and the data that is being transmitted.

SSL is responsible for securing the data of millions of people on the Internet every day. The data that is particularly stored is that of those that is there while doing online transactions or while transmitting any confidential information. Internet users who are using different sites can see if their data is being protected by SSL as the SSL sign shows on the web browser or page. Moreover, it is also established that those who use SSL websites have https in their link.

The whole and common point of SSL is to establish and ensure security on the internet. It essentially is responsible for storing, saving and protecting important information from those who can breach the web. Today, there are hundreds and thousands of scams taking place online; website information is being taken away, credit card information is being stolen and what not. In times like these, there is an incessant need to have a decent security layer while using the internet. Having talked about all of these things, it is common practice, behavior, and important knowledge to realize that SSL has everything to do with the security of one on the internet.

Types Of SSL Certificates

SSL is not just limited to a specific security type. In fact, SSL relates to a range of certificates. There are various kinds of SSL certificates found on the Internet. These are:

  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate:

The first type of the SSL certificate found today is the extended validation SSL certificate. In this type of certificate, the certificate authority checks the rights of the applicant for him to use a particular domain. The extended validation SSL certificate conducts a well-rounded and thorough vetting of the organization.

The issuance process of the EV SSL Certificate is quite strictly defined in the guidelines of the EV. This guideline steps all of the requirements for a CA before a certificate is issued.

These guidelines are:

  • Verifying the physical, legal and the operational existence of the entity
  • Verifying that the entity has thoroughly organized the issuances of EV SSL certificate
  • Verifying that the identity of the entity matches the official records
  • Verifying that the entity has rights to the domain that has been specified in the EV SSL Certificate

The EV SSL certificate is available for pretty much any of every business type. From government entities to incorporated and corporate businesses, the certificates can be used by anyone.

  • Organizational Validation (OV) SSL Certificate

The second type of certificate available and that is being used widely is the OV SSL Certificate. In this certificate, the CA checks the right of the applicant to use a given domain. Moreover, it also conducts certain vetting of the company. Other vetted company information is also given out to the customers when they use the secure site seal.

The OV certificate gives away enhanced visibility behind those who are associated with the site.

  • Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificate

On the other hand, if we are talking about certificates, then Domain Validation SSL Certificate is a name we cannot forget. In the domain validation certificate, the CA checks the rights of the applicant to use a given domain name. However, as far as the company identity or information is concerned, no amount of information is displayed. The only information that is given is the encrypted information which is stored in a secure site seal.

The above three are the most common types of SSL certificates found and used today. However, another name that is rising to the top is Let’s Encrypt.

Free SSL Certificates, Let’s Encrypt: What Are Let’s Encrypt Certificates

Let’s Encrypt is a certificate authority that was launched in April 2016. The certificate provides free X.509 certificates for TLS (Transport layer security) encryption through an automated process that is designed to take out the existing complex processes of validation, signing, manual creation, installation and the renewal of certificates for the security websites.

The parties that are involved in Let’s Encrypt or let’s say Let’s Encrypt is a service provided by the ISRG (Internet Security Research Group), a public benefit organization.

The major sponsors of the certificate include electronic frontier foundation, Mozilla foundation, cisco systems and akamai.

Back in June 2015, Let’s Encrypt managed to generate an RSA root certificate with the private key stored on a given hardware security module that was kept offline. The root certificate is used to sign 2 different intermediate certificates which are cross-signed by the IdenTrust.

One of these intermediate certificates is used to sign the given and issued a certificate, whereas, the other is kept offline in order to use it as a backup in case there is a problem with the first intermediate certificate.


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