On September 8th, 2016, Google announced that it will highlight sites which are not secure in its search results. Basically any website which is over http rather than https, will be highlighted. Especially in Chrome browser. You can read about these updates here, here and here.
So let’s see what is HTTPS/SSL etc. technical words actually mean and why is this piece of information important to your and your business online.
In simple terms: Any information that we send over internet, passes from computer to computer till it reaches its destination. With advent of current cyber threats, it has become important that this information is securely transmitted and received.
The method of protecting data is through encrypting the data and communication, so that only the recipient computer understands it.
SSL secures your data:
In the internet world, safety is always first.
Websites have to ensure that hackers aren’t intercepting their web traffic, that there are no instances of data theft and that there is no unauthorized tampering of information in order to establish a trustworthy online presence for their customers.
When you install SSL certificate on your domain, your access from your server to your visitors viewpoint is secured and encrypted. Thus the information is secured.
When an SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending the information to. This protects it from hackers and identity thieves.
It authenticates and encrypts the data transferred through the website to the server.
What is SSL?
In normal internet communication, the data sent between a web server and a browser is sent in plain text which leaves it very vulnerable to attacks from hackers and cyber criminals.
SSL allows the encryption of data during transfer over a web server.
SSL which stands for Secure Sockets Layer is a term consistently used in the internet world to mean the embraced solution to ensure that connections between a web server and the visitors to the site are secure. Many people rarely realize it but they use SSL in their everyday activities.
The HTTPS padlock icon that appears in the address bar of your browser indicates that you have a secure connection with that site. The secure connection is created by SSL/TLS.
The SSL certificates aid in the protection of sensitive information such as passwords, credit cards, usernames, social security numbers and all other sensitive information.
The encryption safeguards a website online information from possible online hacking and from other cyber-crimes. If you intend to establish an online presence that will require you to collect personal information from clients such as bank details, contact numbers, and address, it is absolutely recommended for you to encrypt the website as soon as possible. All you will need is to collect an SSL certificate.
In the past times, SSL has become much popular and gathered attention from the IT industry and the public as a focus on internet and user security.
In 2016, approximately 50% of all the web traffic was encrypted with SSL for the very first time. However, many people are yet to understand how SSL works.
Why is this so?
There are many reasons that can result in the failure of a businesses online presence and poor online security has been named one of the main reasons. If you have a plan to make an online presence for your business or to launch a startup that will focus on providing online services, or if you have been having problems with your site’s security set up, it is time you understood SSL and what it means to you
Along with the SSL encryption, it is also advisable to install a high-quality firewall on your website to protect it from virus attacks and to get rid of performance glitches.
How does SSL work?
The SSL certificate utilizes a public key and a private key. The two keys work together to establish a secure connection. Data transmitted over internet stays encrypted, till it is provided with matching key by the browser. This encryption happens in matter of milliseconds whenever data is requested from the server.
An authenticated and encrypted SSL connection is built in milliseconds and ensures that the data being transferred between your customer and the server is protected. Every time the customer revisits the site, the encryption will occur again. Servers implement a resumption process for speed and efficiency.
If you look at top left side of your address bar right now, you will see that this website is also serving data to you in encrypted form 🙂
Why use SSL?
Using an SSL certificate is beneficial as it offers encrypted protection during the transfer of sensitive information online.
In fact, the Payment Card Industry (PCI) requires any web platform that collects credit card information to have an SSL certificate. SSL certificates also have the benefit of gaining the consumers trust as they feel protected against phishing schemes.
As is that’s not enough, Google is now providing a slight boost in ranking to websites that are using HTTPS.
Technically, though, Google only considers the first five characters of the URL. Which mean that a site can still receive a ranking boost by leveraging the HTTPS protocol. That too, without a detailed SSL certificate. However, more stringent checks are being put in place as suggested by Google’s GARY Illyes.
Who creates the certificates?
The SSL certificates are created and later signed by a certificate Authority (CA). The CAs are companies that have been duly approved to issue certificates. Some popular CAs include Symantec and Comodo. The CAs follow industry set standards to ensure that people get certificates for the companies that they truly own.
Good News: You can have SSL certificate for your website, for FREE*.
There are many designated organization for issuing SSL certificates. According to your website’s requirements of domain validated, organization validated(high assurance) or Extended Validation (most rigorous) you can approach any of these certificate providers. You can access them through your hosting solution provider too.
How is authenticity checked?
During an SSL connection, the client is allowed to perform cryptographic checks, to ensure the server certificate is authentic. Such checks include the digital signature check. It also checks, whether the certificate is from a trusted CA.
The client can also get proof that the web server owns the private key that is associated with the certificate. The private key is used to decrypt the data.
Source: Search Engine Land
Also published on Medium.