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How to know if you have the right SSL in place?

Posted In Security - By Techtiplib on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 With No Comments »

If you want to get involved in e-commerce there are a few things you have to do first. You will need toobtain an internet merchant account (IMA) with a bank or specialist account provider. You will need to set up a shopping system on your website and you will also need to make sure that any transactions made on your site are secure. Almost as importantly, you’ll want visitors to your website to know their transactions are secure.

Recommended reading: Do you know about OpenSSL Heartbleed Bug?

Using SSL technology and certification is the best way to ensure the security of any communications or exchange of data done via your website. This doesn’t just apply to monetary exchanges and any website collecting or exchanging sensitive information can make use of SSL.

SSL

What is SSL?

SSL, or Secure Socket Layer technology, is an encryption protocol used to help ensure the security of information exchanged over the internet. Essentially, the information is scrambled at one end of the exchange between the secure server (your website) and the browser (your customer). It is only decoded at the other end, meaning would-be hijackers are unable to gain any meaningful data while the exchange is taking place.

Think of it as a carrier pigeon carrying a coded message that can only be read by using a cipher at its destination. Capturing the pigeon in mid-flight would not give any useful information without the relevant cipher.

What is EV SSL?

Any secure server using SSL will show up as such in the customer’s browser address bar as ‘https’ rather than ‘https’. The extra ‘s’ quite literally stands for ‘secure’.

SSL certificates can be self-signed and there are certain conditions you must meet before you can get even a self-signed certificate. An Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate is even more rigorously checked however. A third party SSL checker can provide a sense of trust to anyone using your website that any transactions they make or information they provide will be secure.

An EV SSL will usually be visible to visitors in a number of ways. The website address wil’s still be prefaced with ‘https’ and there will be a padlock icon in the address bar. In high browser security settings, some EV SSLs will turn the address bar green and display the website owner’s company name in the address bar alongside the website address. It is not just the security offered by SSL but the visible signs of that security that are important to customers and vendors alike.

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