How Secured Socket Layer (SSL) Safeguards Your Online Transactions

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Most of our online transaction has the details of our bank accounts and credit card information. There are chances of such info getting leaked or being misused. Secured Sockets Layer is a protocol that transmits your communications over the Internet in an encrypted form. SSL uses the information entered in a way that it reaches only that server where it was intended to be sent, in an unchanged manner. SSL was developed by Netscape to transmit private documents via the Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that is transferred over the SSL connection. Both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer support this program. Many web sites use this protocol to find info and data for confidential products like credit cards etc..

Secured sites that have HTTPS in the beginning use SSL as this protocol supports server and client authentication. The SSL protocol is application independent, allowing protocols like HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and Telnet to be put on top of it transparently. Web sites beginning with HTTP do not necessarily have such supports. This is because of the fact that SSL protocol maintains the security and integrity of the transmission channel by using encryption, authentication and message identification codes.

Whereas SSL creates a secure connection between a client and a server, over which any amount of data can be sent securely, S-HTTP is designed to transmit individual messages securely. SSL and S-HTTP, as such are the two protocols complimenting each other, rather than competing with one another. Both products are approved by Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) ..

The main protocols that govern the transport control and routing of data over the internet are TCP and IP. HyperText Transport Protocol (HTTP), Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), or Internet Messaging Access Protocol (IMAP), run “on top of” TCP/IP which means that they all use TCP/IP to support typical application tasks such as displaying web pages or running email servers.

There are two phases of SSL Handshake Protocol like: server authentication and an optional client authentication. In the first phase, the server, in response to a client’s request, sends its certificate and its cipher preferences. The client then generates a master key, which it encrypts in the servers ‘public key. This in turn transmits the encrypted master key to the server. The server recovers the master key and authenticates itself to the client by returning a message authenticated with the master key. Further data is encrypted and authenticated with keys that have been derived from this master key. In the optional second phase, the server sends a challenge to the client. The client authenticates itself to the server by returning the client’s digital signature on the challenge, along with its public-key certificate.

The SSL protocol runs between the levels of TCP/IP and HTTP/IMAP. The use of TCP/IP for higher-level protocols allows an SSL-enabled server to authenticate itself to an SSL-enabled client. It also allows the client to authenticate itself to the server, so that the two machines can establish an encrypted connection.