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SSL certificates: what is the use of them?

09 December 2021, Thursday By Priyanka Boruah

The SSL function guarantees the integrity and confidentiality of data transmission between communicating applications using the TCP/IP protocol. The information that is transmitted between the server and the client is encrypted with a special algorithm.

SSL certificate

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website's identity and enables an encrypted connection. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a web browser.

Types of certificates

SSL works by using certificates to control communications. These SSL certificates are located on a secure server and are used to encrypt data. An SSL certificate helps to assert that a website is in fact the property of the claimant and includes details of the owner of the certificate, as well as the details of the domain for which the certificate was issued.

It also contains the names of the sources that directly issued the certificate.

There are 3 ways to get an SSL certificate:

  1. using certificates from certificate sources;
  2. using self-signed certificates;
  3. use of "empty" certificates.

Using a certificate from a certificate source

The source of the certificate is an organization that is trusted by a particular industry. Popular browsers are pre-configured to trust certificates that have been issued by specific sources.

Using self-signed certificates

Self-signed certificates are certificates created by the users themselves. When this type of certificate is used, the issuer and owner of the certificate are the same person. The convenience of this solution is that it takes less time to develop self-signed certificates than to accept certificates signed by certificate sources.

Using "blank" certificates

In terms of functionality, this solution is no different from the previous options. In general, blank certificates often contain bogus data used in a property of a particular environment.

After receiving the certificate

If the first stage is passed and the certificate is received, then at the next stage it is necessary to establish its authenticity (authentication).

There are 2 types of authentication in SSL:

  • from the client's side;
  • from the server side.

Benefits of using SSL

Websites gain confidence in their customers if their information is protected with SSL certificates. Customers, in turn, are confident that the data they send is protected and will not become available to unauthorized third parties.

Certificates also protect against the theft of information required to enter intranets and extranets, as well as most phishing technologies.

Read also: Free Apache Security with Let's Encrypt on Ubuntu

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