What is SSL?
Posted by Innerplanet Sales on 26 March 2006 08:50 AM

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is a security protocol created by Netscape that has become an international standard on the Internet for exchanging sensitive information between a website and the computer communicating with it, referred to as the client.

SSL technology is embedded in all popular web browsers and engages automatically when the user connects to a web server that is SSL-enabled. It's easy to tell when a server is using SSL security because the address in the URL window of your browser will start with https. The "s" indicates a secure connection. However, be sure to also look for the lock icon at the bottom of your browser. See examples below.

When your browser connects to an SSL server, it automatically asks the server for a digital Certificate of Authority (CA). This digital certificate positively authenticates the server's identity to ensure you will not be sending sensitive data to a hacker or imposter site. The browser also makes sure the domain name matches the name on the CA, and that the CA has been generated by a trusted authority and bears a valid digital signature. If all goes well you will not even be aware this handshake has taken place.

However, if there is a glitch with the CA, even if it is simply out of date, your browser will pop up a window to inform you of the exact problem it encountered, allowing you to end the session or continue at your own risk.

In Internet Explorer:
The lock appears at the right bottom (status bar)

In FireFox:
The lock appears at the right bottom (status bar)

In Opera:
The lock appears at the right of URL.

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