Building a relationship requires trust, which is much more intense for a relationship in which both parties are likely to meet. Confidence on the Internet is of paramount importance, especially if this relationship is transactional; where the money is involved. Even deeper than this is the fact that Data is the new gold so almost everything we do on the net needs to be secure.
Building this relationship of trust is not an easy task, but there is increasing pressure on website owners to create an environment that allows their users to feel safe. SSL certificates are an essential way to do this because they assure users that the connection to this website is secure.
For the end user, all they need to check this is a simple icon displayed on their browser. For website owners, it’s a bit more complicated, but it’s not necessarily the case.
What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?
SSL is a security protocol that ensures users that the connection between their computer and the visited site is secure. During a connection, a lot of information flows between two computers, including highly confidential data such as credit card numbers, user identification numbers, or even passwords.
Under normal circumstances, this data is sent in clear, which means that if the connection were to be intercepted by a third party, this data could be stolen. SSL port prevents this by making it mandatory to use an encryption algorithm when connecting to both ends.
Why do we need an SSL certificate?
Originally, the most common question to ask was “Do we need an SSL certificate?
And the typical answer would be “it depends”. After all, why should websites that do not need to process sensitive financial data be as secure?
Unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, the digital age has meant that outside of immediate money, hackers are increasingly starting to search for personal information.
The Google factor
Conscious of this, as of July 2018, Google will label all standard HTTP pages as unsecured. It’s important to recognize this because it means that sites that are not trusted by Google are likely to suffer a ranking penalty. Web sites thrive thanks to traffic. If you do not show up in Google lists, you will not get much in terms of traffic.
For now, you may not need an SSL certificate yet, but it may be wise to seriously consider setting it up. Although Google currently only broadcasts warnings and penalizes search rankings, given the current state of cyber security, it is not likely to stop there.
How SSL works
Simplistically, there are three main components in creating a connection;
- The client – This is the computer that requests information.
- The server – The computer that contains the information requested by the client.
- Connection – The path through which data flows between the client and the server.
To establish a secure connection with SSL, you need to know some additional terms.
- Certificate Signing Request (CSR) – This creates two keys on the server, a private, and a public. Both keys work in tandem to help establish a secure connection.
- Certification Authority (CA) – This is an ssl shopper certificate issuer. A bit like a security company that holds a database of trusted websites.
Once the connection is requested, the server creates the CSR. This action then sends data containing the public key to the CA. The CA then creates a data structure that corresponds to the private key.
Types of SSL Certificates
Although all ssl handshake certificates are designed for the same purpose, they are not all equal. Think of it as buying a phone. All phones are basically designed to do the same thing, but different companies manufacture and produce many different models at varying prices.
To simplify things, we break down the types of SSL certificates by trust level.
Certificate 1 – Validated Domain (DV)
Among SSL certificates, the validated domain certificate is the most basic and simply ensures users that the site is secure. There are not many details aside from this fact and many security companies do not recommend the use of domain validated certificates for websites dealing with business transactions. The validated domain certificate is the economical smartphone of the SSL world.
Certificate 2 – Organization Validated (OV)
Holders of organizational certificates are subject to stricter verification by certification authorities than holders of certificates validated by the domain. In fact, the owners of these certificates are authenticated by dedicated personnel who validate them with government-run business registries. OV certificates contain information about the company that owns them and are often used on commercial websites. They represent the mid-range smartphones of the ssl https world.
3- Extended Validation Certificate (EV)
Representing the highest level of trust in SSL rankings, EV certificates are chosen by the best of the best and extremely tightly controlled. By opting for the use of EV certificates, these websites are deeply rooted in consumer confidence. These are the iPhone of the SSL world.
The fact that SSL certification has become so highly recommended today that many fraud websites have also started using SSL. After all, there is little difference between websites, with the exception of the green certification padlock. This is the main reason why more reputable organizations opt for SSL certification and are better controlled.
How to choose the right certification authority
Certification authorities are like private security companies. They are the ones who issue the digital certificates that facilitate the SSL setup process. They also belong to a short list of companies meeting specific criteria to keep their place on this list. Certification authorities that maintain their place on this list can issue SSL certificates. The list is therefore exclusive.
The process is not as simple as it seems, because before you can issue a certificate, the CA must verify the identity of the website that requests it. The level of detail of these controls depends on the type of SSL applied.
The best certification authority is a person who has been in the industry for some time and who applies best practices, not only for themselves but also for partners associated with the business. Ideally, they should also be able to demonstrate proven expertise in the field.