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Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): How It Works

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology protects your Web site and makes it easy for customers to trust you.

  • An SSL Certificate enables encryption of sensitive information during online transactions.
  • Each SSL Certificate contains unique, authenticated information about the certificate owner.
  • Every SSL Certificate is issued by a Certificate Authority that verifies the identity of the certificate owner.

You need SSL if...

…you have an online store or accept online orders and credit cards.

…your business partners log in to confidential information on an extranet.

…you have offices that share confidential information over an intranet.

…you process sensitive data such as address, birth date, license, or ID numbers.  

…you need to comply with privacy and security requirements.

you value privacy and expect others to trust you.

Public and Private Keys to Privacy

An SSL Certificate consists of a public key and a private key. The public key is used to encrypt information and the private key is used to decipher it. When a Web browser points to a secured domain, a Secure Sockets Layer handshake authenticates the server (Web site) and the client (Web browser). An encryption method is established with a unique session key. They can begin a secure session that guarantees message privacy and message integrity.

Authentication Practices

Every SSL Certificate is created for a particular server in a specific domain for a verified business entity. Like a passport or a driver’s license, an SSL Certificate is issued by a trusted authority, the Certificate Authority (CA). When the SSL handshake occurs, the browser requires authentication from the server. A customer sees the organization name when they click certain SSL trust marks (such as the VeriSign SecuredSeal) or use a browser that supports Extended Validation. If the information does not match or the certificate has expired, the browser displays an error message or warning.

Protect Your Customers’ Trust

Without SSL encryption, packets of information travel through networks in full view. Imagine sending mail through the postal system in a clear envelope. Anyone with access to it can see the data. If it looks valuable, they might take it or change it. Without third-party verification, how do you know a Web site is really a business you trust? Imagine receiving an envelope with no return address and a form asking for your bank account number. An SSL Certificate helps Web site visitors protect sensitive information and get a better idea of who they are trusting with it.

The Web’s Most Trusted Security Provider

SSL helps you deliver a secure and convenient way for your customers to interact with you over the Internet. VeriSign is the SSL Certificate provider of choice for over 93% of the Fortune 500 and the world’s 40 largest banks, businesses that know the most about Internet security. When you display the VeriSign Secured Seal, your customers will recognize the most trusted security mark on the Internet.

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