e-commerce business is all about making money and then finding ways to
make more money. Of course, it's hard to make (more) money, when consumers
don't feel safe executing a transaction on your Web site. That's
where SSL (Secure Socket Layer) comes into play. Understanding how
SSL affects e-commerce business can also potentially help you to
unlock (more) money from your customers.
What is SSL?
Since its introduction in 1994, SSL has been the de facto standard
for e-commerce transaction security, and it's likely to remain so well into
SSL is all about encryption. SSL encrypts data, like credit cards
numbers (as well other personally identifiable information), which
prevents the "bad guys" from stealing your information for malicious
intent. You know that you're on an SSL protected page when the
address begins with "https" and there is a padlock icon at the
bottom of the page (and in the case of Mozilla Firefox in the
address bar as well).
Your browser encrypts the data and sends to the receiving Web site
using either 40-bit or 128-bit encryption. Your browser alone cannot
secure the whole transaction and that's why it's incumbent upon
e-commerce site builders to do their part.
At the other end of the equation, and of greatest importance to e-commerce
site builders, is the SSL certificate. The SSL certificate sits on a secure
server and is used to encrypt the data and to identify the Web site. The SSL certificate helps to prove the site belongs to who it says it belongs to
and contains information about the certificate holder, the domain that the
certificate was issued to, the name of the Certificate Authority who issued
the certificate, the root and the country it was issued in.
SSL certificates come in 40-bit and 128-bit varieties, though 40-bit
encryption has been hacked. As such, you definitely should be looking at
getting a 128-bit certificate.
Though there a wide variety of ways in which you could potentially
acquire a 128-bit certificate, there is one key element that is
often overlooked in order for full two-way 128-bit encryption to
occur. According to SSL certificate vendor VeriSign, in
order to have 128-bit encryption you need a certificate that has SGC (server
grade cryptography) capabilities.
Key Terms To
Short for Secure Sockets Layer, a protocol
developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents via the
Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that's
transferred over the SSL connection.
An attachment to an electronic message used for security purposes.
The most common use of a digital certificate is to verify that a
user sending a message is who he or she claims to be, and to provide
the receiver with the means to encode a reply.
The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most
effective way to achieve data security.
Short for digital rights management, a system for protecting the
copyrights of data circulated via the Internet or other digital
media by enabling secure distribution and/or disabling illegal
distribution of the data.