An SSL Certificate will definitely provide complete solution for website security. In order to understand how an SSL Certificate provides security it would be better to first know what an SSL certificate is and how it functions towards providing security.
An SSL certificate is computer code that contains information about the genuineness or authenticity of a website. It also enables an encrypted connection between a browser and the website. Any enterprise that needs to ensure secure communication between its website and user browsers, and secure external and internal communication, and also secure communication with devices on its network requires an SSL certificate.
Why Websites Need SSL Certificates:
The eCommerce market is booming with consumers preferring online purchases to visiting brick-and-mortar stores. And the trend will continue unless customers feel that online purchases cannot be done securely. Purchases involve sharing of sensitive information such as credit card data, net banking logins, passwords, pins, security identification, etc.., Consumers will stop their online purchases if they feel that their data could be stolen. They would stop doing net banking, and other such online transactions. The eCommerce market and other online activities will flourish only if the consumer remains confident. This is where an SSL certificate plays a major role.
When a savvy customer visits a website he will perform transactions only if he is sure that he is on the page he means to be and not on some spoofed website. Now, how does he ensure that? SSL certificate.
SSL certificates are issued by Certificate Authorities (CA). The certificates contain information about to whom the certificate has been issued to, the certificate issuer (CA), the validity period of the certificate, the intention of the certificate, its status, properties, version, extensions, signature algorithm and other technical information. A common user needs to be wary about the issuer, who it is issued to, validity and the purpose of the certificate. A website with SSL certificate will display “https:” instead of “http”. The color of the address bar will be green and will display a “lock” symbol.
How SSL Certificates Are Issued?
Not just anybody can get a SSL certificate for their websites. Trusted CAs follow a specific verification procedure, and its very difficult for cyber criminals to acquire SSL certificates. Basically, CAs validate the domain and the enterprise and only then issue the certificates. There are different types of SSL certificates for different requirements. An enterprise that wants to check out the benefits of SSL could try Free SSL; The next level of SSL is a full business validated certificate; Some SSL certificates are issued after Domain validation and enable highest possible encryption to secure online transactions.
Wildcard SSL certificates enable enterprises that require SSL certificates for multiple sub-domains to consolidate the sub-domains onto a single SSL certificate, which enables easy management. A Code Signing certificate helps a publisher of code to digitally sign and protect the code from malware infiltration and tampering. Extended Validation (EV) certificates offer higher level of security and the website’s address bar (URL) bar turns green. The name of the enterprise is also displayed. Certain CAs also offer Trusted Seals which are a sign of authenticity of the website.
Browsers will trust SSL certificates only from Trusted CAs. Browsers will throw a warning if the validity period of the SSL certificate has expired.
Certificate Transparency Log To Track SSL Certificates:
There have been instances of certain CAs having gone rogue – they had issued SSL certificates without proper verification. And even reputed CAs have made blunders. Google is maintaining a Certificate Transparency (CT) log to track deployed certificates to ascertain whether they are trusted. The CT log also tracks root certificates.
Cyber criminals will constantly try to figure ways to get SSL certificates for malicious websites. However, Trusted CAs will endeavour to maintain methods to identify authentic websites. Users can continue to place trust in websites with SSL certificates.