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SSL Certificate Meaning: 2024 Quick Guide

Updated: Nov 24, 2023



What is Secure Sockets Layer Certificate Meaning
Secure Sockets Layer Certificate

SSL Certificate Meaning

The meaning of SSL Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an encryption-based Internet security protocol that is essential for all Internet transactions. SSL certificates are necessary to establish a secure connection between web browsers and servers.


The invention of the SSL certificate

The SSL protocol was established in 1995 by Netscape Communications to provide a secure channel of communication between a server and a browser. Netscape's scientist Taher Elgamal is an Egyptian cryptographer and entrepreneur who has been depicted as the "Father of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)"

SSL versions 1.0 and 2.0 were subjected to serious security flaws with their protocol structure which strongly laid the opinion for a complete redesign of SSL to version 3.0 by Paul Kocher in the year 1996. TLS (Transport Layer Security) is a proposed Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard, first defined in 1999. TLS builds on the now-deprecated SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) specifications. TLS is a cryptographic protocol created to provide communications security. The protocol is popularly used for email, instant messaging, and voice-over IP, but it got its limelight when using secure HTTPS.


TLS/ SSL protocol timeline

  1. The SSL 1.0 was never released

  2. The SSL 2.0 was released in the year 1995

  3. The SSL 3.0 was released in the year 1996

  4. The TLS 1.0 was released in the year 1999

  5. The TLS 1.1 was released in the year 2006

  6. The TLS 1.2 was released in the year 2008

  7. The TLS 1.3 was released in the year 2018

SSL certificate and full form

The SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. The SSL certificate establishes a secure connection by encrypting the data that travels between your browser and the corresponding website's server. SSL certificates enable websites to move from HTTP to HTTPS, which is more secure. It also authenticates your identity as a client, provides data integrity, and ensures encryption of the information that you send over the Internet.


An SSL certificate works by having one server issuing an identity certificate that has the server’s public key in it which authenticates itself with another server usually over a network connection by exchanging certificates according to certain handshake protocols of encryption algorithms, hashing algorithms, and message authentication code algorithms.


In other words, a person can share their key with anyone they want to communicate with securely over the Internet knowing that only the other person will be able to decrypt the message. The best way for someone to protect themselves in an online environment would be for them to have a personalized cryptographic 'lockbox' for every situation or transaction where they need extra security.


Secure Socket Layer (SSL) vs Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates

  1. SSL's version is 3.0 and TLS's version is 1.3

  2. The supported algorithm is Fortezza for SLL whereas TLS does not support the same.

  3. Compared to the SSL protocol the TLS protocol is highly secured.

  4. Though SSL is reliable its latency is on the high side, but TLS provides less latency.

  5. TLS is popular and still now in use, however, SSL has been depreciated

Purpose of SSL certificate

Websites need SSL certificates to keep user data secure, verify ownership of the website, prevent attackers from creating a fake version of the site, and convey trust to users.

If a website is asking users to sign in, enter personal details such as their credit card numbers, or view confidential information such as health benefits or financial information, then it is essential to keep the data confidential.


SSL certificates help keep online interactions private and assure users that the website is authentic and safe to share private information with. More relevant to businesses is the fact that an SSL certificate is required for an HTTPS web address. HTTPS is a secure form of HTTP, which means that HTTPS websites have their traffic encrypted by SSL. Most browsers tag HTTP sites – those without SSL certificates – as "not secure." This signals to users that the site may not be trustworthy – incentivizing businesses who have not done so to migrate to HTTPS.


Importance of SSL certificate

There are two benefits of SSL certificates:
  1. Authentication.

  2. Data Integrity.

Authentication ensures that the two computers can prove who they are utilizing some group-wide secret, such as a password or cryptographic key.


Data integrity ensures that any data being transferred over this encrypted link cannot be tampered with along the way.


Types of SSL certificates

There are three important types of SSL certificates available

Though all three types of SSL-certificated encryption levels are the same their vetting and verification processes are majorly different.


- The server sends a private key to the client for them to be able to encrypt messages.

- The server sends its public key so that when clients send messages, they can be authenticated.

- The server sends a digital certificate so that clients can validate whether or not they are communicating with whom they intend to communicate.


Issuing SSL certificate

The SSL certificate allows browsers to verify that they are communicating in encrypted form with a web server. The SSL certificate can be issued to an individual domain or a company’s server, giving all users with whom the company communicates a high degree of privacy and authentication.


A public key makes encryption and decryption possible so when you visit a secure site, you can tell by the address in your browser if it should be connecting over HTTPS. The ‘S’ at the end stands for security so you know that data


SSL certificate and cyber attacks

How SSL certificate means to save your website from Cyber Attack
GoDigiFlo - Cyber Attack Blog

Below are the encountered attacks curated list on the SSL protocol

To check an SSL certificate

Meaning of an SSL Certificate

There are many SSL certificate checkers available on the internet, it is easier now than ever to check if a connection is secured enough or not.

To check an SSL certificate on any website, all you need to do is follow two simple steps.


  1. Check if the URL of the website begins with HTTPS, where S indicates it has an SSL certificate.

  2. Click on the padlock icon on the address bar to check all the detailed information related to the certificate.



SSL Certificates validation

Domain Validation


Domain Validation Certificates are a significant essential certificate. The only demonstration needed is to show the ownership over the domain that you’re requesting on the SSL certificate. Domain Validation takes a single step in which the Certificate Authority vets the company applying for the certificate


Organization Validation (OV)


Organization Validated Certificates furnish originality confirmation and robust SSL protection. Organization Validation needs multiple steps in which the Certificate Authority vets the company or organization applying for the certificate, while Domain Validation takes just a single effort. OV certificates include some identity information about the site operator. Site visitors can verify that the website is managed by a legitimate company and is not a fake site.


Extended Validation (EV)


Extended Validation Certificates, the owner of the website enacts a thorough and globally standardized identity verification methodology to prove sole rights to use a domain. EV certificates include some identity information about the site operator and its extensive. To see your company’s identity information, visitors need to consider the certificate details.


SSL Certificate for Free

Most of the top hosting providers provide you with a FREE SSL certificate as part of your hosting coverage. Below is the curated list of best-hosting providers

SSL Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

  1. What is the meaning SSL Certificate?

  2. Who invented SSL?

  3. What is an SSL certificate?

  4. What is an SSL certificate and full form?

  5. What are the differences between Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)?

  6. Why SSL certificate is required?

  7. What is the importance of an SSL certificate?

  8. What are the types of SSL certificates?

  9. To whom can the SSL certificate be issued?

  10. What are all the attacks on SSL?

  11. How to check an SSL certificate?

  12. What is the SSL certificate validation?

  13. Can I Get a Free SSL Certificate?

 

Conclusion


A website needs an SSL certificate to keep the user data secure and safe, to verify ownership of the website, to prevent attackers from creating a impersonate version of the website site, and predominantly to gain user trust in all aspects. The customers who wans to create a website should understand the importance to have the SSL certificates which verify that a client is talking to the correct server that owns the domain. This actually helps prevent the Domain Spoofing and other kinds of sophisticated attacks of the today's world.

 



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