What Is SSL Certified? – Before We Get Into The Topic, let’s Learn Some Basic Of This Topic
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is a digital cert that authenticates the identity of a website and allows for encrypted connections. SSL is a Secure Sockets Layer. This security protocol creates an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser.
To protect online transactions and ensure customer privacy, companies and organizations must add SSL certificates.
SSL protects internet connections and prevents criminals from reading or altering information between systems. SSL is the security protocol that protects the website you visit.
There have been many versions of the SSL protocol since its conception 25 years ago. Each version has had security problems at one point or another. TLS (Transport Layer Security) was renamed and is still being used today. The initials SSL remained, so the new protocol is often referred to by its old name.
What is the working principle of SSL certificates?
SSL protects data between websites and users, as well as between systems, from being read. SSL uses encryption algorithms to encrypt data during transit. This prevents hackers from reading it once it has been sent over the internet. These data can include names, addresses, credit cards numbers, or other financial information.
It works this way:
- A server or browser attempts to connect to a website secured with SSL.
- The browser requests that the web server identify itself.
- In response, the web server sends a copy of its SSL certificate to the browser.
- The browser/server checks whether the SSL certificate is trusted. If it trusts the SSL certificate, it will notify the webserver.
- The web server will then return a digitally signed acknowledgment to initiate an SSL encrypted session.
- The webserver and browser share encrypted data.
Sometimes, this process is called an “SSL handshake”. Although it may sound slow, it is actually very fast.
The URL will display the HTTPS acronym, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. The letters HTTP will not appear without an SSL certificate. In the URL address bar, a padlock icon will be displayed. This symbol signals trust and reassure visitors.
Click on the padlock symbol in the browser bar to view the details of an SSL certificate. These details are typically found in SSL certificates:
- The domain name for which the certificate was issued
- It was issued to which person, organization, and device
- Which Certificate did Authority issue it?
- Digital signature of the Certificate Authority
- Subdomains associated
- Date of issue
- The certificate’s expiry date
- The public key (the secret private key)
Why SSL certificates are important
SSL certificates are required by websites to protect user data, verify ownership, provide trust and communicate trust to users.
It is important to protect ‘s privacy any website’s privacy and website’s privacy that asks users to sign up, provide personal information (e.g. credit card numbers), or view financial or health information. SSL certificates are used to protect online communications and ensure that users can trust the website and share their private information.
Businesses will find it more relevant than an SSL certificate must be obtained to create an HTTPS website address. HTTPS refers to the secure version of HTTP. HTTPS websites are encrypted using SSL. HTTP sites without SSL certificates are often marked as “not secure” by browsers. This signals to users that the site is not trustworthy and encourages businesses to migrate to HTTPS.
Secure information like:
- Login credentials
- Information about bank accounts and credit card transactions
- Personally identifiable information, such as full name and address, date of birth, or telephone number
- Contracts and legal documents
- Medical records
- Proprietary information
Types of SSL certificates
There are many types of SSL certificates available with different validation levels. These are the six most common types.
- Extended Validation Certificates (EV SSL).
- Organization-validated certificates (OVSSL)
- Domain-validated certificates (DV SSL).
- SSL certificates from Wildcard
- Multi-Domain SSL certificates
- Unified Communications Certificates
Extended Validation Certificates (EV SSL).
This SSL certificate is the most valuable and highest-ranking. This SSL certificate is often used by high-profile websites that collect data and require online payments. This SSL certificate displays the URL address bar with the URL of the website, the country, the HTTPS, and the padlock. The address bar displays the information of the website owner to distinguish it from malicious sites. The website owner must undergo a standard identity verification process to verify their legal authorization to set up an EV SSL Certificate.
Organization-validated certificates (OVSSL)
This SSL certificate offers a similar level of assurance to the EV SSL certificate. However, the website owner must complete a thorough validation process to obtain one. This type of certificate also shows the website owner’s information in the address bar to distinguish malicious sites. OV SSL certificates are the most expensive, after EV SSLs. Their primary purpose is to encrypt sensitive information used during transactions. To protect customer information, OV SSL certificates must be installed on public or commercial websites.
Domain-validated certificates (DV SSL).
Domain Validation SSL certificates are less secure and require minimal validation. These SSL certificates are often used for informational or blogs sites. They do not require data collection or online payments. This SSL certificate is the cheapest and easiest to obtain. Validation only requires domain owners to confirm domain ownership via email or phone call. The browser address bar displays HTTPS only and a padlock without any business name.
SSL certificates from Wildcard
You can secure unlimited sub-domains with Wildcard SSL certificates. A Wildcard SSL certificate is recommended for multiple sub-domains.
Much more is cheaper than purchasing individual SSL certificates for each sub-domain. Wildcard SSL certificates include an * in the common name. The asterisk is used to signify any valid sub-domains with the same base domain. A Wildcard certificate can be used for one *website.
Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC).
Multi-Domain certificates can be used to protect multiple domains and/or subdomain names. This allows you to combine completely different domains and subdomains with different Top-Level Domains (Top-Level DNS), except local/internal.
Take, for example:
Multi-Domain certificates don’t support sub-domains automatically. When obtaining a Multi-Domain certificate for www.example.com or example.com, both hostnames must be given.
Unified Communications Certificate (UCC).
Multi-Domain SSL certificates can also be considered Unified Communications Certificates (UCC). UCCs were created to protect Microsoft Exchange and Live Communications servers. These certificates can be used by any website owner to permit multiple domain names to become protected with a single certificate. UCC Certificates can be used to secure multiple domain names on one certificate. UCCs can also be used to create EV SSL certificates, giving website visitors the best assurance via the green address bar.
To obtain the best SSL certificate for your website, it is important to understand the differences between the various types.
How to get an SSL certificate
You can obtain SSL certificates directly from a Certificate Authority. Each year, millions of SSL certificates are issued by Certificate Authorities (sometimes also known as Certification Authorities). They are crucial in the operation of the internet and ensure that online transactions can be transparent and trusted.
An SSL certificate costs anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars depending on what level of security you need. After you have decided on the type of SSL certificate you need, you can start looking for Certificate Issuers that offer SSLs at the required level.
These are the steps to get your SSL:
- Prepare by getting your server set up and ensuring your WHOIS record is updated and matches what you are submitting to the Certificate Authority (it needs to show the correct company name and address, etc.)
- You can generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from your server. This is something your hosting company can help with.
- This form must be submitted to the Certificate Authority to validate your domain name and company information
- Once the process is completed, you will need to install the certificate.
Once you have obtained the certificate, you will need to configure it on your web host.
Depending on the type of certificate and certificate provider, how quickly your certificate is received will determine how fast it arrives. Each level of validation requires a different amount of time. An easy Domain Validation SSL certificate can usually be issued in minutes, while Extended Validation can take up to a week.
Is it possible to use an SSL certificate on more than one server?
One SSL certificate can be used for multiple domains from the same server. You can use the same SSL certificate on multiple servers, depending on which vendor. Multi-Domain SSL certificates are responsible for this.
Multi-Domain SSL Certificates can be used with multiple domains, as the name suggests. The specific issuing Certificate Authority will determine the number. A Multi-Domain SSL Certificate differs from a Single Domain SSL Certificate. This certificate, again as the name suggests, is intended to protect a single domain.
Multi-Domain SSL Certificates (also known as SAN certificates) can be confusing. SAN stands to stand for Subject Alternative Name. Multi-domain certificates have additional fields (i.e. SANs), which can be used to list additional domains you wish to cover with one certificate.
Unified Communications Certificates, (UCCs), and Wildcard SSL Certificates allow multi-domains, and in the latter case, unlimited subdomains.
What happens if an SSL certificate expires
SSL certificates expire. They don’t last forever. The Certificate Authority/Browser Forum, which serves as the de facto regulatory body for the SSL industry, states that SSL certificates should have a lifespan of no more than 27 months. This basically means that your SSL certificate can be renewed for two years and you can also carry it over to the next three months if there is still time on your old SSL certificate.
SSL certificates are subject to expiration because, like any other form of authentication information, it is necessary to periodically validate the information to ensure that it remains accurate. As companies and websites are sold and bought, things change online. The information that is relevant to SSL certificates changes as they are transferred. The expiry period serves to ensure that information used to authenticate servers or organizations is accurate and up-to-date.
SSL certificates were previously issued for up to five years. This was later reduced to three years and then to two years. There is also the possibility of an additional three months. In 2020, Google, Apple, and Mozilla announced they would enforce one-year SSL certificates, despite this proposal being voted down by the Certificate Authority Browser Forum. This was in effect as of September 2020. The validity period may be reduced in the future.
The site becomes unreachable if an SSL certificate is lost. The SSL handshake ensures that the SSL certificate is valid within milliseconds when a visitor’s browser arrives on a website. Visitors will be notified if the SSL certificate is expired. There is a risk.
While users do have the option to proceed, it is not advisable to do so, given the cybersecurity risks involved, including the possibility of malware. Website owners will notice a significant drop in bounce rates as users quickly leave the homepage to go somewhere else.
Larger businesses have to keep track of when SSL certificates expire. Smaller and medium-sized businesses may only have one or a few SSL certificates to manage. Enterprise-level organizations, which can transact across multiple markets and have numerous websites and network connections, will have many more. This level of management will allow an SSL certificate to expire. It is more often the result of incompetence than oversight. A certificate management platform is the best way for large businesses to keep track of when SSL certificates expire. You can search online for a variety of products. These enable enterprises to manage and view digital certificates across their entire infrastructure. It is essential to log in frequently to these platforms to be able to see when renewals are due.
You can’t run secure transactions on your website if you let a certificate expire. The Certification Authority (CA), will ask you to renew your SSL certificate before the expiration date.
The SSL certificate authority or service that you used to obtain your SSL certificates will send expiration notifications at a set time. Usually, these notifications start at 90 days. These reminders should be sent to an entire email list, not just one individual. To ensure that the reminders reach the right people, think about who your stakeholders are on the distribution list.
How to determine if a website has an SSL certificate
You can check the address bar of your browser to determine if a site is SSL certified.
- The URL that begins with HTTPS rather than HTTPS indicates that the site has an SSL certificate.
- Secure sites have a closed padlock emblem that you can click on to view security details. The most trusted sites will have green address bars or padlocks.
- When a connection isn’t secure, browsers will also display warning signs, such as a red padlock or a not-closed padlock, a line running through the website address, or a triangle warning triangle above the padlock emblem.
How to make sure your online session is secure
You can only submit your personal information and payment details online to websites that have EV or OV certificates. Online shops cannot use DV certificates. The address bar can be used to determine if the site is equipped with an OV or EV certificate. An EV SSL will display the name of the organization in the address bar. Click on the padlock icon to see details about an OV SSL. Only the padlock icon will be visible for DV SSL.
Please read the privacy policies on this website. This allows you to see the use of your data. Legitimate companies will disclose how they collect and use your data.
Be on the lookout for indicators of trust signals on websites.
These include SSL certificates as well as reputable logos and badges that show the site meets certain security standards. You can also check for a physical address or telephone number to determine if the site is genuine. Also, you should verify their refunds or returns policy and make sure that prices are reasonable.
Be aware of phishing scams.
Cyber attackers can sometimes create websites that look like existing websites to trick people into buying something or logging on to their phishing site. It’s possible to create websites that mimic existing websites to trick people into buying something or logging in to their phishing site.PhishingSite to get an SSL certificate. This will encrypt all traffic between you and the site. Many phishing scams are occurring on HTTPS sites. Users feel safe and secure because of the padlock icon.
These types of attacks can be avoided:
- Always verify that the domain you are visiting is correct. A fake URL might have a different URL by one character, such as amaz0n.com rather than amazon.com. To verify that you are connecting to the correct website, you can type the domain directly in your browser.
- If you are not sure about the authenticity of logins, passwords, or banking credentials, do not enter them.
- Consider what the site offers, whether it seems suspicious or if you really need to register.
- Make sure your devices are well protected: Kaspersky Internet Security checks URLs against an extensive database of phishing sites, and it detects scams regardless of how “safe” the resource looks.
Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving. Understanding the types of SSL certificates that you should be looking for and how to tell if a site is safe from being dangerous will help internet users avoid getting scammed and protect their personal information from cybercriminals.