Users often associate shopping online as a relatively safe method of shopping as long as there is a lock on the browser stating that the website is secured by SSL. But what users often do not know is what that really means and why it is important.

If you have ever been to a website and looking to purchase an item or at least seen the lock in the browsers URL it most likely is a safe and trusted website. But have you ever been to a website that was not secured by a SSL certificate, and come across a message similar to this.
What this message is telling you is that this website is running over a secure connection that does not have a security certificate, or SSL, and is warning you that the site may be unsafe. Now let’s look at what the browser should look like if it is safe.

How does SSL work? SSL works by establishing an encrypted connection with the server in which you are connecting to. This allows you to put in important information such as Social security Numbers, Credit/Debit cards, and login details into the website without fear of this information being sent across the internet in plain text for anyone to read. It is able to do this by using a public, private, and session keys that works together to encrypt the data between the web server and the end user. So now when the user connects to a website such as eBay to log into the account, the computer will connect to the server and request what is called an SSL handshake, now when the user goes to login the data is encrypted with the public key and sent to the server, where it can only be decrypted by the servers private key, and vise versa. One of the most important parts of the SSL is that the web server is verified by a third party to be safe to trust, and they say who they really are. If you were to click on the green lock you will be presented with the SSL details of the website, and who verifies that the website is safe.

So as you can see, before you ever try and purchase something on the internet, please verify that the website is secure before proceeding to enter any private information. By just simply being cautious can save you a lot of time, and headache of possibly having your identity or private information stolen.

Tracy Hazelton
System Technologist
StormsEdge Technology

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