Everyone knows that you need to be careful when it comes to protecting your private information while surfing the wild west of the Internet. There are unscrupulous people out there who want to hijack your information and use it for evil… well at least their own personal gain. Clearly you want to avoid this.
It's always best to visit trusted websites and make sure the owners are reputable. You can verify this by making sure the sites you visit employ the SSL protocol. Let's learn more about how these secured sites work.
What Is the SSL Protocol and How Does It Work?
SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and was developed by Netscape (yeah, that long ago) as a means to make the internet a little bit safer. It’s a protocol that was developed to allow users to transmit private documents and data through the internet. SSL keeps your data encrypted by using a cryptographic system made up of two separate keys. The first key is public and the second key, which belongs to the user receiving the data, is private.
Websites use SSL to commonly collect information like log-in data, and private data such as your social security information and credit card information. Most don't focus on the backend of the security that SSL provides, but when things go wrong, everyone knows they want the issue corrected immediately.
How Do You Know If a Website Employs the SSL Protocol?
Websites that need a SSL connection will start with “HTTPS” as opposed to “HTTP.” The acronym “HTTPS” stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure” which means that if implemented correctly, your data is safe to be transmitted. This means you should get into the habit of looking for the “HTTPS” in the web address of whatever site you’re using if you plan on transferring private data through the site’s server. If you're using a browser that hides the beginning of the website address, you should still see a lime green security padlock in the left side of the address bar.
Sites using SSL will need to register for a digital certificate. This digital certificate allows a website to transfer private data on the internet by using a public key infrastructure, commonly referred to as simply PKI. This digital certificate is also known as a public key certificate.
It’s worth it to take a few extra minutes and do some research on the sites you use. A site with a good reputation will have great reviews and little if any instances of a security breach.
Now that you know a little bit about SSL and how it works, you should have a better idea of how you can protect yourself in the digital world. The internet isn’t always a safe place but there is plenty you can do to protect your information. And knowledge equals power when it comes to maintaining your privacy.
You now know what to look for and it’s up to you to make sure that the websites that you use are reputable and trustworthy. The internet creates victims every single day but you don’t have to be one of them. Remember to always look for the “HTTPS” when making a purchase or transferring private data. The power is in your hands, so keep your eye on the address bar in your web browser.