What is an SSL Certificate?
Learning About SSL Certificates
What is an SSL Certificate? Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology protects the Voices website and makes it easy for our visitors to trust Voices in three essential ways:
- An SSL Certificate enables encryption of sensitive information during online transactions.
- Each SSL Certificate contains unique, authenticated information about the certificate owner.
- A Certificate Authority verifies the identity of the certificate owner when it is issued.
How Encryption Works
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. An SSL Certificate establishes a private communication channel enabling encryption of the data during transmission. Encryption scrambles the data, essentially creating an envelope for message privacy.
Each 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 and secure transmission can begin. True 128-bit SSL Certificates enable every site visitor to experience the strongest SSL encryption available to them.
How Authentication Works
Imagine receiving an envelope with no return address and a form asking for your bank account number. Every VeriSign SSL Certificate is created for a particular server in a specific domain for a verified business entity. When the SSL handshake occurs, the browser requires authentication information from the server. By clicking the closed padlock in the browser window or certain SSL trust marks (such as the VeriSign Secured Seal), the Web site visitor sees the authenticated organization name. In high-security browsers, the authenticated organization name is prominently displayed and the address bar turns green when an Extended Validation SSL Certificate is detected. If the information does not match or the certificate has expired, the browser displays an error message or warning.
Why Authentication Matters
Like a passport or a driver?s license, an SSL Certificate is issued by a trusted source, known as the Certificate Authority (CA). Many CAs simply verify the domain name and issue the certificate. VeriSign verifies the existence of your business, the ownership of your domain name, and your authority to apply for the certificate, a higher standard of authentication.
VeriSign Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates meet the highest standard in the Internet security industry for Web site authentication as required by CA/Browser Forum. EV SSL Certificates give high-security Web browsers information to clearly display a Web site?s organizational identity. The high-security Web browser?s address bar turns green and reveals the name of the organization that owns the SSL Certificate and the SSL Certificate Authority that issued it. Because VeriSign is the most recognized name in online security, VeriSign SSL Certificates with Extended Validation will give Web site visitors an easy and reliable way to establish trust online.