What is SSL and Why is it Important for Being Safe Online?
Est. reading time 4 minutes
Delving into the tech-jungle can certainly be a challenge. Trying to deal with all the different software and products available and figuring out exactly what is needed leeds to understandable frustration and overwhelm. But if you have to pick one Internet “speak” to know about, SSL should be it.
SSL has become an important aspect of daily Internet life, so we thought we would explain what exactly it is and why you need to know about it. Read on to know why SSL is one of the basic features needed for safeguarding your data online.
All information used to be written down on paper instead of being shared electronically, and it was difficult for personal information to be accessed, unless you knew exactly where to look. And even then it was a physical process that wasn’t the easiest to do in nefarious ways.
Nowadays, when everything is done online, it’s so much easier for hackers to access data. It's readily available for them and relatively simple to access. Cybercrime is an active problem that can affect anyone. However one thing that can stop hackers from accessing data entered into a website, is SSL.
How Does SSL Work?
In short, SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer. Its primary function is to keep your data safe from anyone trying to access it.
Having SSL on a website means hackers will not be able to read information shared between you, the website, and the intended recipient. So you can use SSL as a way to keep shared information safe between a particular server and your client or between two different servers altogether.
What happens is that SSL uses something called a “public key” and a “private key” that cooperate to create an encrypted connection. The “public key” is specifically used by the website inquisition to encrypt conveyed information, while the “private key” is used by the server to unlock the data. Nobody else will be able to understand this data if they try to intercept it, because it will just appear as nonsense to them.
What you send: I'd like a dozen roses delivered to 3301 Douglas Street, Victoria, for Andrea Chan.
What they see: inygh786g5gthyj7nb76ur5c4fght8b69h7g65rf64f7d6edrr
With SSL every bit of information shared is encrypted which means that the data becomes “locked” and can only be “unlocked” by the person it’s intended for.
Nothing extra or technical needs to happen to “unlock” the data, it’s simply accessed via the allowed channel, such as contact form submissions, or a locked database.
What to Look Out For
Nowadays, it’s so easy to leave large digital footprints from our online presence, which makes it easier for hackers to find and use that for their own gain.
For example, if you were to order some flowers from a florist online by filling out a form, the florist would receive the order and see it’s for a dozen roses, your contact info, and any other information you provided them.
If there was no SSL on the website, a hacker could intercept this information and make a copy of it. They would be able to see that you ordered a dozen roses, your contact info, and whatever other information you gave them. If there is SSL however, hackers can’t do anything.
Who Need SSL?
While people have SSL for different reasons, it works exactly the same way on every website. It is absolutely crucial for websites that take payments to have it. Never ever give payment details to a website that does not have SSL.
But even if you don’t take payments, if any data is collected SSL is a good idea. It ensures that the information you’re sending ends up where it belongs, and becomes another way of preventing the data ending up in the wrong hands along the way.
SSL is also beneficial for SEO purposes. Having an SSL encrypted website can also act as a way of getting your ranking up in the search results as it shows the search engine that your website is a secure place to send visitors.
In 2020, many web browsers have stepped up their game regarding SSL and are making a conscious effort to block websites that are not secured. Even Google is looking at making SSL a mandatory feature with their updated versions of Google Chrome.
How To Tell if a Website Has SSL
Fortunately there’s an easy way to find out if a website has SSL by simply looking at the URL. Most browsers used will show that the connection is secured with a tiny green padlock. It will also be accompanied by a secure message next to the padlock when you hover over the padlock.
If you’re about to give data to a website and you’re concerned about whether or not you’re protected, there’s nothing to worry about if that padlock is visible.
Nowadays having SSL is essentially mandatory for every website, as it’s one of the very basic tenants of safe Internet usage. The way we use the Internet today is different from how it was used years ago, when the first browsers and search engines began to make an appearance. There’s a lot more that hackers can do to access personal data, but then there’s also a lot more safety features in place. While nothing is 100% guaranteed online, SSL is one way that data can be protected.
If you want any more information about this just get in touch by sending an email to email@example.com.