An SSL certificate is a cryptographic signed file which lives on a domain’s web server. The contents of the file allow them to encrypt data between you and their web server, thus making a secure connection. This makes the data sent between both locations nigh impossible to understand if someone intercepts the data.
What Makes an SSL Certificate Secure
Anyone with the sufficient knowledge and tools can create an SSL certificate. However, it is very difficult to make an SSL certificate look like someone else’s. Part of the security lies in what is known as a Certificate Authority. These organizations are relied on for their ability to keep their information secure and in evaluating web servers they hand certificates to. Each server must pass a number of inspections before they get a certificate. These include both automated processes and manual critiques. Only after they pass the tests are web servers handed a signed SSL certificate. Inherently your browser knows most of the major Certificate Authorities, and implicitly trusts any certificate they have signed. If your browser detects an SSL certificate not signed by a known authority it will automatically block all information.
- SSL Certificate
Why SSL Certificates are Important
These signed certificates help prevent unwanted individuals from viewing important information. For instance they keep your credit card numbers and passwords obscured. Since the web server has a valid SSL certificate you know all data you send is secure. Any data between you and the web server you are communicating with is encrypted so that even if someone steals the data they cannot access the contents.