What Is A SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)?

SSL Defined

SSL or secure sockets layer provides a secure channel between two machines or devices operating over an internal network or internet.

SSL was first developed in 1995 for the purpose of ensuring privacy, authentication, and data integrity in Internet communications. It is the predecessor to the modern TLS encryption used today.

SSL supports the following information security principles:

  • Encryption: protect data transmissions
  • Authentication: ensure the server you’re connected to is actually the correct server.
  • Data integrity: ensure that the data that is requested or submitted is what is actually delivered.

SSL works by encrypting data that is transmitted across the web. Anyone that tries to intercept data encrypted by SSL will only view a mix of characters which are nearly impossible to decrypt.

To ensure encryption, this encryption method initiates an authentication process (“handshake”) between two communicating devices to verify that both devices are really who they claim they are. It also digitally signs data to ensure no data tampering before reaching the intended recipient.

One way to know if your web browser and web server is secure, is to have a look at a website address. If the address changes from HTTP to HTTPS, then it is secured.

In Data Defined, we help make the complex world of data more accessible by explaining some of the most complex aspects of the field.

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