What is SSL certificate and how it works?

How SSL works - graphic

ssl explained

SSL certificates are a tool that provides website protection and guarantees the confidentiality of data transmitted electronically. Full security is a result of the use of encrypted communication between computers. SSL certificates are registered on a particular domain name that contains information about the domain owner, his address, etc. This data is cryptographically protected and cannot be independently changed.

The history of SSL certificates goes back to 1994 when the Netscape company created the Secure Sockets Layer protocol to secure transmission of encrypted data stream. Thanks to its effectiveness, ease of use, and simple installation, it quickly started being used for making transactions carried out in electronic banks, during online auctions, and in online payment systems.

SSL certificates are required for all entitles that provide their services online or through local networks in order to guarantee:

  • Security – encryption of communication, secure personal data sharing;
  • Credibility – website or server credibility confirmation;
  • Trust – providing services that meet the global standards. 

SSL certificates are issued by CERTUM PPC and are known for its multilingual technical support and compliance with international standards confirmed by the WebTrustSM/TM certificate.

Trusted SSL certificates

In 2008 there were over 3 000 000 of servers and websites that were using the SSL certificates, but according to the research conducted by the NetCraft company (www.netcraft.com) , only about 1/3 of them were found to be safe and reliable. Other SSL certificates did not have the proper cryptographic security level or were offered by unidentified publishers.

The globally recognized WebTrust standard is a set of “best practices” in the area of information security and certification services. It allows to find in the most popular browsers, server software, and operating systems. When it comes to the trusted SSL certificates, the encrypted connection is established automatically. However, when the certificate is issued by an unknown certification center before establishing the connection, a warning message appears (it informs about the lack of trust and asks whether you still want to connect).

SSL certificates are issued in accordance to the WebTrust standard and they prove that servers and websites are secured. They also provide secure data exchange and, thanks to the global trust, help to build a positive image of companies or institutions that apply them around the world.

Online Communication

Only a small percentage of Internet users are aware of how computers connected to the Internet communicate and exchange data with each other. Simply speaking, everything can be performed thanks to protocols, a kind of own “language”. The principle of this operation does not depend on Internet users. Even though the solution is convenient, it creates many fundamental questions about the safe use of Internet.

Standard protocol and secure SSL/TLS protocol

The SSL/TLS protocol is of the most common ways to secure the data transmission on the Internet. The use of cryptography and public key certificates, called in this case SSL certificates, enables an encrypted connection between a server and a user computer that connects to it. SSL/TLS protocol guarantees security by utilizing the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). While connecting, a symmetric key is created. It will be used to secure data exchange in a created session.

In order to compare the typical protocol with the SSL/TLS protocol, let’s imagine a situation where paying by a credit card in an online store, we inform all other buyers about our card number, its expiry date, and CVS code, allowing them to use our money. When the encrypted connection is used, there is no possibility to obtain such important data.

How to buy the SSL/TLS certificate?

In order to purchase the SSL certificate, you need to perform the following steps:

  • Choose the certificate type and add it to your cart, 
  • Place an order, 
  • Fill out the form (provide your billing details, shipping address, etc.), 
  • Choose a payment method (traditional or online payment), 
  • Activate the certificate code (it will be send on the email address you typed while placing the order. You can also find it in “My Account/ Electronic codes”),
  • Log into the system to generate your SSL certificate, 
  • Provide so-called CSR – certificate signing request, generated by the CRS on the website or server where the SSL certificate will be installed. 
  • Verify your domain by placing META tags or HTML file on the website. You need to do it in order to have an access to a website. 
  • Depending on the type of your certificate, send documents confirming your company identity, 
  • Once the verification of all data is completed, you certificate will be send on your email address. 

Who is the SSL/TLS certificate for?

As mentioned above, the SSL certificates provide confidentiality and secure data transmission. They are the right solution for your server if you:

  • Collect and process personal data, 
  • Sell things on the Internet, 
  • Publish information that needs to be authenticated, 
  • Are professionally active on the Internet, 
  • Share confidential information over the Internet with your colleagues and business partners. 

The SSL certificate can be used by:

  • Banks and financial institutions, 
  • Online stores (e-commerce), 
  • Auction services, 
  • Public administration websites (BIP, electronic registr boxes, customer services), 
  • Websites that process and provide data on the health condition of patients, 
  • Business websites and cooperation portals, 
  • School and university websites, 
  • Email and database servers, 
  • Client-server applications, 
  • Communication within the Intranet and Ekstranet networks, 
  • Secure file transfer protocols (SFTP). 

In case of any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to ask as for further information. To do this, call us or use the online contact form that you can find on our website.

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