SSL: Site Security and Privacy


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Netscape began using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) in 1994 as a means of sending sensitive data over the web. The newer edition of the service is called Transport Layer Security (TLS), although even this is routinely known by the SSL designation.

Before the introduction of SSL it was difficult to ensure privacy over the web in online transactions. There was a general distrust of the ability to conduct online transactions and a fear that an individual’s credit card information could be picked up by a third party and used for unauthorized purchases.

What makes SSL unique is an encryption technique that sends credit card and other personal data through the web. This encryption technique makes the information totally useless to anyone who does not have decoding abilities. If a third party were to intercept the information it would be useless to them.

The use of SSL Digital Certificates also provides a unique level of trust because a certificate verifies the users authenticity. This is an important step in instilling trust in potential customers. Many savvy consumers will avoid an online retailer entirely if they do not use SSL.

Without the proper use of SSL, information such as credit card numbers, third parties with less than positive motivations could obtain passwords and personal identification numbers.

A 128-bit key that is harder to break and typically protects personal account information than the 40-bit key. If your name and address is all that is being protected a 40-bit key may be used; the higher bit the key, the greater level of encryption. Most financial institutions only use 128-but keys for the security of their client’s data.

As an online marketer you will likely be asking your visitors for personal data. Don’t be surprised if your potential customer determines their willingness to do business with you based on the security of your website. Many customers will look for the SSL symbol and will move along if the don’t find it. SSL use can also be recognized by a lock symbol in the lower right hand corner of your browser window. If the symbol is unlocked then SSL is not in use on the site.

SSL should be enacted on pages requiring a password or might contain personal data most clients would like to keep private. Some sites will place SSL on some pages and forget other pages that are equally as sensitive. For the sake of your personal experience with ecommerce you should implement SSL protocol.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of HighPowerSites and many other web projects. HighPowerSites is the easiest do-it-yourself website builder on the web. No programming or design skill required. Get your own website online in just 5 minutes with at:


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