Every time your on the internet or network and receiving or sending information, that information can be visible to anyone spying on the connection between yourself and the website. That is why SSL Certificates exist. To encrypt all the information being sent and received so as anyone spying will not be able to see what it is.
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and is a protocal developed by Netscape to being security to transactions between websites and their end users. Using a third part ( a Certificate Authority ) such as Symantec, Comodo, GeoTrust or Thawte to identify and confirm the website business/owner and passing that onto the end user/visitor a trust is developed between the two for the transaction of information.
How SSL Certificates Work.
- First the customer/visitor makes a request to visit the secure website page ( usually through https:// )
- The visitors browser checks against its database of trusted Certificate Authorities and makes sure the certificate used by the website has been issued by one of the trusted Authorities.
- The browser then will use the information associated with the certificate, a public key, to encrypt all the information being sent to the website server and send it.
- When the website server receives the encrypted information it will decrypt it using a private key.
- Once all the information and requests from the visitor is decrypted it will respond with the requested information which will first be encrypted before it is sent to the visitors browser.
- The visitors browser receives the encrypted response and information, decrypts it and displayed it to the user.