Cybersecurity is one of the main points of discussion among technophiles these days. Thanks to Google, webmasters have been taking up the matter of website security quite seriously. Google’s initiative to make all of the web encrypted has taken center-stage, among other advancements in the technology domain.
It was in 2014 that Google first announced its intention to secure the web, starting by labeling e-commerce sites and other sites that collected sensitive data from users as ‘Not-Secure’ if they lacked an SSL certification. The move gradually gained prominence, leading to Google taking the decision that from July 2018, none of the ‘HTTP’ websites will be spared, no matter what they did - whether they sold t-shirts or posted random DIY videos - none at all.
The evolution of cybercrime is alarming. It’s 2018 and cybercrime rings are rampant. In fact, they’re more organized and structured than most corporate enterprises. They tend to work with the kind of agility that’s synonymous with the units fighting against them. According to a cybercrime report by Cybersecurity Ventures
, damages due to cybercrime are predicted to cost the world more than $6 trillion annually by 2021. With the data revolution ensuing, one has got to do everything in his/her power to prevent their websites from hackers.
What can you do to make your website foolproof and future-proof? The answer lies in SSL and its capabilities.
What is SSL?
Secure Sockets Layer
(SSL) is a certificate that is provided by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA). Essentially, it’s a text file that contains encrypted data. It is what differentiates an HTTPS site from an HTTP site. The latest versions of SSL are referred to as TLS (Transport Layer Security) instead.
An SSL certificate is installed on a website by the website owner in order to secure the connection between the server and the user’s browser. It encrypts sensitive data entered by the user before transmitting it. With the evolution of cybercrimes, SSL has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for websites.
What are the features of SSL?
Besides giving you the promise of safe data transfer, SSL has other benefits as well.
SSL is a symbol of trust
Everyone knows how important a role trust plays when you interact with customers via the internet. With reports of personal information being hacked online going viral in many countries, people are concerned about what they do when they’re surfing online. A European survey by GlobalSign
backs up this trend.
According to this survey, end users are generally concerned about their interactions online. It was seen that 55% of people are anxious about identity theft and 77% are worried that the data they provide is being intercepted. However, the introduction of a security indicator was welcomed by these people. 90% of people were found more likely to place trust in a website if it displayed security indicators explicitly. This is what SSL does. The secure padlock, the green bar URL and HTTPS notation make way for people to have faith in the fact that their data is not being misused.
SSL brings SEO benefits
I’ve written a whole other blog post on this matter. SSL being the harbinger of trust that it is, helps to improve organic search results in Google, thus affecting your conversions positively.
Secondly, HTTPS is being used as a ranking factor by Google and even though its effect isn’t substantial to cause a major difference in rankings, it is still one of the reasons you should migrate to HTTPS.
Finally, contrary to common belief, SSL improves the performance of websites. It is a wide misconception that HTTPS pages have performance overheads. Senior Software Engineer at Google, Adam Langley, has this to say about SSL.
“On our production front-end machines, SSL/TLS accounts for less than 1% of the CPU load, less than 10KB of memory per connection and less than 2% of network overhead.”
With browsers using HTTP/2 these days, the performance has only improved.
The TLS Handshake process
A secure connection between a browser and server is established by means of a process called the TLS Handshake (or SSL Handshake).
As seen in the picture above, a TLS handshake begins with the user’s browser asking the server to initiate a secure session.
In the next step, the server is required to prove its identity. This it does by sending across its certificate. The browser checks for the validity of the certificate by making sure that it is within its expiration date and has been issued by a reputed CA. This second step is known as authentication. Public/private key pairs are used in this process.
In the third and final step, a pre-master secret is created by the browser and encrypted using the public key sent by the server. The server receives this and both parties generate a master secret and session keys using this data. This session key is used to initiate the secure session.
All the information exchanged between the two parties thereafter is completely encrypted.
Types of SSL certificates
For e-commerce websites, SSL certificates are famously available at affordable prices on SSL2BUY’s website. You can search for the perfect one that meets your requirements. SSL2BUY
provides DV (Domain Validation), OV (Organization Validated) and EV (Extended Validation).
While DV SSL provides only validation of the domain, OV SSL validates the organization running the website. The most secure of them all - EV SSL provides complete security against fraud. EV SSL not only provides details of the company but also turns the address bar green, making it obvious to the user that the website they’re accessing is safe to use. This makes EV SSL the highest priced of all the SSL certificates, but make no mistake, it’s worth the money you pay.
In today’s scenario, every company website should be secured with an SSL certificate. With Google making way for universal encryption of the web and removing capabilities from the non-secure web, HTTPS/SSL is the way forward.