What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer was originally invented by Netscape. The SSL protocol allows mutual authentication between a client and server and the establishment of an authenticated and encrypted connection. SSL runs above TCP/IP and below HTTP, LDAP, IMAP, NNTP, and other high-level network protocols.

The SSL versions 2 and 3 have been superseded by the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), but SSL version 3 is still maintained and used for backward compatibility. Commonly web site and server security is still referred to as SSL even today.

SSL certificates are typically issued to subscribers by certification authorities (CA) for the use and securing of web site. Through the binding of the keys and vetting of various important attributes the certificate providers guaranty the proper functioning of SSL protocol. The prevention of Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, but also the identification of the web site operator are the tasks of CAs.

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