SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is a tool that is standard in creating an encrypted link between an internet server and browser. Creating an SSL link ensures that all data that passes between the web server and the browser remains private. SSL is used industry-wide by websites because it enables website owners and operators to protect transactions with their customers.
To be able to activate SSL on a website, the web server has to qualify for an SSL Certificate. If you own a website and you choose to activate SSL on your website, you will be given a series of questions that verify the identity of your web company, to ensure that it is reputable and safe for web users to trust with valuable personal information and transaction details. Once you answer this series of questions, your website is then able to create two cryptographic “keys.”
Public Key and Private Key
One key that your website will create in order to continue the certification process is a Public Key. This “key” is not secret, and it is placed into a CSR (Certificate Signing Request). The CSR is a data file containing your personal details, which you then submit to be validated. Once the information that you submit in the CSR, including your Public Key, is validated, the Certification Authority will issue you an SSL Certificate, and will match this certificate to a new Private Key. After all of this is accomplished, the website will be able to establish an encrypted link to safely connect the customer’s web browser to your website, and safely allow data transfer and transactions to take place.
SLL for the Customer
To the web user who does not own a website, but uses websites that are encrypted with an SSL link, all of the above details are hidden. Instead, the web user is presented with an icon next to the URL of a website that is safely encrypted with SLL, which indicates to the user that the website is a safe place to provide payment and personal details. This icon comes in the form of a green lock symbol, which also displays the SSL Certificate of the site and the details about the certificate.
SSL Certification is only issued to companies and other legally accountable individuals, so the green lock symbol can give you peace of mind if you are a web user who needs to make an online payment to a reputable site.