SSL stands for secure sockets layer and it is an encryption-based Internet security protocol used for ensuring privacy, authentication, and data integrity in Internet communications. For this reason, many websites use SSL for secure areas of their websites like their account pages, login pages or online checkouts. Without it, users’ information could be easily revealed.
What is SSL Used For?
In practice, when using SSL, it typically means that, when a user proceeds to a checkout page, the user will be redirected to another page and the resulting page will be secured by SSL. The easiest way to see whether a website is secure is by looking at the URL of the website. If that website implements SSL, the URL will start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. Conveniently, most browsers indicate whether a website is secured by SSL by displaying a lock before the URL of the website.
In simple terms, SSL secures data that is transmitted across the web. This means that anyone that intercepts that data between the user and the specific website won’t be able to read it. It does this by using an authentication process called a handshake between communicating devices to ensure that both devices are really who they purport to be.
Although SSL is commonly seen on the Internet, it's also used to secure other communications such as SMTP for sending emails. This means, for companies that rely on email, that their email security incorporates SSL to ensure the best deliverability and security in their communications.
Why is SSL important?
Traditionally, data and information on the Internet was sent as plain text. In simple terms, this meant that any data transmitted between two computers or users on the Internet could be read by anyone if they intercepted the message. This meant that personal and sensitive information were at risk when communicating over the Internet. For this reason, SSL was designed.
By encrypting the data between the user and the web server, SSL ensures that anyone who intercepts the message won’t be able to decipher the data and this means that sensitive information like consumer information, credit card details, and login details are safe when a website is protected by SSL.
It's also important to stop certain kinds of cyber-attacks. Because it authenticates web servers it eliminates the situation where attackers try to fake websites and trick users into giving their data on the website.
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