HTTPS Encryption: A Fool-Proof Formula for Improving your Website’s Security

Does your website run on HTTPS? If the answer is a ‘No,’ then it’s time to buy an SSL certificate apt for your website’s architecture. You need to buy an SSL from a reputable provider like SSL2BUY and install it on your web server.

Unless your website has an active and valid SSL installed on the server, it will run on the outdated HTTP protocol, which isn’t secure. The HTTPS is much safer because it uses encryption, but the only way to get this protocol up and running is by installing an SSL certificate on the webserver. Without it, your website could be a victim of a severe security breach such as packet sniffing, MiTM attack, etc.

What is HTTPS?

The HTTPS is a secure version of HTTP protocol. The same request-response protocol is exchanged over a secure socket layer (SSL) using cryptographic keys to encrypt and decrypt the data exchanged. So, even in the case of a successful man-in-the-middle attack, the attacker would not be able to make sense out of the data unless he has the intended recipient’s private key.

Back in the day when the internet evolved, the Hypertext transfer protocol or the HTTP was developed to transmit data based on individual requests. However, the data was shared in the plain text format, and although initially, that seemed to work just fine, things have changed.

Due to the exponential increase in e-commerce, digital identity documentation, and online banking, users have begun transmitting sensitive information over the internet. This data needs to be protected not to be sniffed or intercepted when exchanged between the client and webserver. So, there was a need for a better protocol, and that is how the HTTPS evolved.

How does HTTPS work?

The HTTPS protocol confirms that you are interacting with the server you think you are. Thus, it ensures that there is no deviation in the client-server communication. This begins with establishing a secure connection between the server and the client, commonly referred to as a ‘handshake.’ The handshake involves three different steps — algorithm agreement, certificate exchange, and key exchange.

Algorithm Agreement

This refers to how the client and the server arrive at a consensus over two shared algorithms. The first algorithm would encrypt a secret key that the client and the server would share, while the other algorithm would be used along with that ‘secret key’ and is used for all subsequent communication. The algorithm agreement takes place during the first point of contact between the server and the client.

Certificate Exchange

In this phase, the SSL certificate is issued by a Certification Authority (CA) after performing the necessary checks. The CA is a reputed unbiased third party that verifies an applicant and, upon successful validation, issues an SSL certificate. This is a text file that includes the CA’s digital signature, implying that the CA has verified the following information.

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  • Name of the one who owns the Server
  • Domain name
  • Period for which the SSL certificate remains valid
  • Certificate Authority’s Digital Signature
  • Public key of the server

The information mentioned above is then encrypted with the Certificate Authority’s private key and attached to the certificate. So, anyone who wants to confirm authenticity can take the CA’s public key to decrypt the certificate’s content and ensure that the certificate is valid.

The Public and Private Keys

Wondering what a public key is? A public key can encrypt messages sent to a server with a valid SSL certificate installed. A public key is available for anyone who wishes to send requests to such a server. On the other hand, the server uses the corresponding private key to decrypt the encrypted requests. If X is the server with a valid SSL and A, B, and C are clients who send requests to X, the requests sent are encrypted with X’s public key. Therefore, no one except X can decrypt that message, and X does this with the private key. So, if anyone intercepts the in-transit communication, they would not make sense out of the data intercepted.

Key Exchange through Shared Algorithms

As discussed earlier, there were two shared algorithms that the server and the client had initially agreed upon. The client first generates a key encrypted by the first algorithm and the server’s public key. The client then sends this encrypted key to the server using the shared algorithm and its private key to decrypt it. Now, the first shared algorithm’s job is done, which paves the way for the client and the server to communicate using the second shared algorithm, with their respective secret keys.

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To sum it up, HTTPS works just like the HTTP but offers better security due to encryption and decryption using public-private cryptographic keys. This allows a website owner to protect users against card-skimming attacks, man-in-the-middle breaches, packet sniffing, and much more.

Overall, it enables the web server and the client to securely connect and exchange data over the internet by making the attacker’s data eligible. Also, it provides the SSL applicant an opportunity to establish credibility by getting verified through a reputed Certificate Authority. If you wish to buy an SSL certificate for your website, consider exploring SSL2BUY and get the best deals from some of the leading Certificate Authorities in the virtual world.