What is SSL? And 7 Reasons You Should Care About It.
It seems like every week there is new news involving identity theft or major data breaches. People losing account passwords to hackers, rampant attack of malware from web sources, and recently, ransomware is commonplace these days. These traps are easy to fall into, especially when the website looks legit, but it is equally easy to avoid if you understand what SSL means.
If you are reading this blog on the IDdigital site, you can see a green address bar with a lock icon on the upper left corner of your browser. That is SSL, and it is what secures your online activities from being intercepted by malicious hackers. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security protocol for establishing encrypted links between a web server and a browser in an online communication. While browsing without the encryption, eavesdroppers with access to your ISP or router can intercept data transferred to websites or install malware into otherwise legitimate pages.
SSL has since been updated to SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer / Transport Layer Security), but to keep it simple and short, it is still known as SSL. It provides a secure encrypted connection for a website transport through hypertext transfer protocol. When seeking authentication and identification, as a security measure from a web server, it is presented through its SSL certificate. This scenario takes the form of an SSL handshake — a back-and-forth communication to establish an encrypted connection and authenticate identity before the user browser actually requests the needed information.
HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) displays in the address bar when a website meets the threshold of internet security protocol and is secured by an SSL certificate. Google has continued its journey of making web browsing safe. Recently, it announced that the SSL Certificate is a must for all websites.
Since January 2017, Google has been displaying the security status of the website connection in the browser's navigation bar of chrome version 56 and up to web pages that display sensitive information such as password and/or a credit card field. This was the beginning of marking all HTTP pages non-secure. In July 2018, Google Chrome rolled out version 68 that makes https mandatory. Chrome 68 has completely marked insecure HTTP websites as "not secure"— a negative message that displays beside the URL in Chrome's address bar even in incognito mode.
Additionally, the security padlock changes into an exclamation mark warning that Chrome traditionally used to display broken websites. On September 4, 2018, Google released Chrome 69, a version that adopted HTTPS by default and removed the "secure" word. In Chrome 70, which is yet to be released in October 2018, HTTP sites will assume warning into a red triangle exclamation mark while displaying the word "not secure." So why is SSL so important to Google?
SSL Protects Data
The core function of an SSL certificate is to offer preeminent protection for server-client communication. SSL encrypts every bit of data and can only be decrypted by the intended recipient. While handling sensitive information such as credit card numbers and IDs, SSL helps keep you safe from an army of hackers. Implementation of SSL certificate is also in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) directives that were implemented on May 25 to protect personal data.
SSL Improves Customer Trust
Besides encryption and authentication, SSL certificates are very important from a client trust point of view. With OV or EV SSL, customers can see your organization's details and immediately recognize it as a legitimate entity. This improves their confidence in your site and they are more likely to revisit it and do business with you.
SSL Protects the Integrity of Your Website
SSL provides a layer of protection that prevents intruders from accessing communication between your website and your users' browsers. Intruders such as malicious attackers, ISPs, or unscrupulous firms that inject ads into web pages to exploit unprotected communication that travels between your website and your users. This may occur at any point in the network, which includes a compromised ISP, a user's computer, or a Wi-Fi hotspot, to name a few.
SSL Helps You Satisfy PCI/DSS Requirements
Installing an SSL certificate is among the 12 primary requirements established by the payment card industry (PCI) in order to accept online payments.
HTTPS Protects the Privacy and Security of Your Users
SSL prevents eavesdroppers from passively listening to communication at any point in the network between your websites and the users. Many online users assume that HTTPS is only required with sites that handle sensitive information. However, any unprotected online communication can reveal too much information about the behavior and identity of site users as web attackers fish information from aggregate browsing activities.
SSL Affirms Your Identity
SSL certificate plays a very critical role in providing authentication to a website, which is one of the most important aspects as web security is concerned. When installing an SSL certificate, an independent third party called Certificate Authority (CA) verifies the identity of your organization. Once you have proved your identity, CA grants trust indicators to your website that vouch for your integrity. When clients see them, they become confident that they are communicating with an authentic organization, which saves users from fraudulent activities and enhances your reputation.
Better Search Engine Ranking
In 2014, Google introduced a clause of SSL to its algorithm in order to improve the ranking in HTTPS-enabled websites in its SERP (Search Engine Rank Page). The boost in ranking has been substantiated by various studies conducted by SEO experts across the globe.
At IDdigital, all sites we build come standard with SSL. But this is not true for many other website providers and legacy sites. If your site is not currently using an SSL, we would suggest that you make the necessary changes to implement an SSL as soon as possible. The digital team at IDdigital is available and ready to help you launch a secure and conversion-focused web presence. Contact us for a simple web audit and talk to our team of digital experts to ensure that your website is protected.