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1 SSL You re FREE Guide to (Secure Sockets Layer)

2 What is a Digital Certificate? SSL Certificates, also known as public key certificates or Digital Certificates, are essential to secure Internet browsing. They are electronic documents that are digitally signed and are used to confirm the identity of whoever sends a piece of data. This is vital for e-commerce transactions because it provides a digital paper trail and verification system. It would be very difficult to know whether your data was being compromised by a third party without digital certificates. How do Digital Certificates work? The type of encryption primarily used by SSL Certificates is called public-key cryptography. In this system, two different keys are used to encrypt the information: a public key and a private key. In the 1970 s, techniques were found that could encrypt data with two different keys that were mathematically related. By using these two keys, it became possible to verify that information was sent by someone without fully decrypting the data and leaving it exposed. RSA encryption is an early example of this technology. SHA-1 is the most common type currently used. A digital certificate is broken into several parts according to the X.509 standard: A unique serial number. The origin of the certificate (i.e. a bank.) The encryption algorithm used to create the signature. The signature itself, which is a doubly-encrypted hash code. The issuer of the certificate, usually a certificate authority. A date range where the certificate is considered good. The public key and the purpose for it, generally certificate signing. A thumb print hash of the public key and the algorithm to used to generate it. This is normally used as an abbreviation to make the decryption process faster.

3 Let s take an Example A bank wants to present a secure web page to a client. The data for the web page is encrypted and compressed into a hash code, a fixed string of letters and numbers that is unique to the data. This hash code is then encrypted using the sender s private key, creating a digital signature. A digital certificate is generated with all the information above. The most important parts are the signature, the hash of the encrypted data, and the public key. This certificate is then attached to the encrypted data and sent. When your browser goes to a secure web page it receives the certificate, and sends off for validation. The validation of these certificates is done by a Certificate Authority (CA) such as Verisign. Once a CA receives a digital certificate, it uses the public key attached to the certificate to decrypt the digital signature. If the signature is valid, then the decrypted digital signature should match the original hash code of the encrypted data. This is possible because of the mathematical relationship of the keys. If the check passes, then the information is passed on to your browser, fully decrypted, and displayed for you. If not, then your browser will give you a warning to let you know that the data you requested isn t properly verified. Your browser will show that you re on a verified encrypted page by having https:// in the URL bar rather than The example given above was a very bare-bones description. The process is actually much more complex. Digital certificates are processed and transmitted using the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, or the more recent Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. These protocols allow two computers to set up secure connections between each other. It also negotiates several sets of confirmations to ensure that both parties have the appropriate encryption protocols and sets up its own encryption session for the connection itself, beyond the data. This second layer of protection prevents hackers from intercepting signed data and injecting their own packets into the connection, or otherwise messing with the certificate. The use of digital certificates and public-key encryption opened the doors to modern e-commerce. Billions of verifications are done daily using these technologies, ensuring safe financial and commercial transactions. If your company is needing any sort of encryption between yourself and a client, then it is definitely in your interests to implement a digital certification system before going live. SSL Explained

4 How do you Know if a site is SSL Certified? The best way to tell that a site is using a valid SSL certificate is to look to the left of the address bar in a modern browser (I.E. 8+, Firefox 4, or Chrome) and see the name of the Certificate in a box. Higher end certificates will turn this region Green in colour. Clicking on this area will display information about the certificate. A less secure method is to look for HTTPS at the beginning of the URL or address bar. The most important of these security measures is the set of encryption codes. These codes will encrypt all messages as they are being relayed from one end to the other. This means that while your message is travelling through cyberspace, it s in a special coded form that cannot be intercepted and read. Even if someone were to get to it they wouldn t understand it. Each SSL pack is unique therefore the encryption key for the client and the consumer is different from that of another. When the consumer receives the message their computer automatically decrypts the message and that s how they are able to read the message with no problem. Of course this means that your browser has to have recognized the digital certificates. Otherwise the browser will prompt you first if you want to access the website and share data. This is where you ll have to manually retrieve the certificate and click on the accept button, thereby accepting the terms of the SSL digital certificate. Most browsers and websites are designed for this to automatically run so you mostly never even know it happens. A Secure Web Page

5 Earning Customers Trust with SSL Certificates The main reason for using SSL is to protect delicate information that is sent over the internet for view to be accessed only by the recipient it is intended for. Information sent over the internet passes through one computer to another before it reaches its server destination and any computer between the sender of the message and the recipient sever could access your username, password and credit card numbers. By using a SSL certificate, the information sent cannot be accessed by any party except the server it is being sent to, making it perfect for protecting your information from identity thieves and hackers. Of course if you run an online business then your first major concern is data security and gaining consumers trust. With SSL, you are sure to gain your customers trust because they will be able to access visual cues like the lock and in some cases the green bar that lets your visitors know that they are safe to pass their information on your website and be able to comfortably buy from you. With SSL you get a seal that is trusted and will give your customers confidence when dealing with you. The easiest way to get an SSL certificate is to purchase a licence from certificate vendors like Webvisions. com; the Certificate Authority or CA will check on the security measures of your website and its coding to ensure that everything follows the high level of standards that required for data safety. Webvisions offers the best value SSL Certificates from one of the world s largest certification authorities, Comodo, providing the highest standard in digital certificates for web safety and authentication. Call Webvisions on: And find out more about setting up a Digital Certificate for your website.

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