Providing data security becomes a vital need for many companies and firms whose activity is somehow related to corporate networks. Digital security certificates, including SSL, provide authentication and authorization of a user in a system when connecting via a secured connection.

What is a digital certificate?

A digital certificate is a paper or electronic document produced by a special institution called a certification authority. It contains an owner’s name, an authority’s name, a public key and the terms of use. A public-key certificate is required for client’s identification and defining the validity of the operation performed with the use of a private key. Its format (X.509 v3) is standardized, and the structure is described in details in RFC 5280, an informational document of the Internet that contains all major standards and specifications applied in the global network.

Digital certificates are released not only by big transnational organizations. They can be used in conventional internet-borders of specific countries. One of the most popular certificates is an SSL-certificate related to an encrypted data transfer protocol in the Internet.

A secured SSL connection

A cryptographic SSL protocol stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”. Its major purpose is providing a connection security. An asymmetric cryptographic method is used in the key authentication, while a symmetric method is used for encoding the transferred confidential data.

A secured connection by an SSL protocol was developed by the specialists of Netscape Communications in the process of Netscape Navigator browser development that uses HTTPS for working. SSL 3.0 is widely used for exchanging voice (Voice over IP) and instant messages, for receiving and processing emails in applications, transferring internet-fax data. Recently the security of connection via SSL protocol is recognized as insufficient. More and more people move to TLS standard from SSL to provide a secured internet connection.

How and where are SSL-certificates used?

SSL-encryption is used in pair with an internet data transfer protocol – HTTP. All transferred information is encrypted. In case the data is intercepted by a special software sniffers cannot be used. The major SSL-certificates users are banks and e-commerce shops. The existence of such security certificate allows not only securing transferred user personal data, but also guaranteeing the validity of information about the site owner.

Security guarantees in using an SSL-certificate

Now you can receive SSL-certificates of different types:

- free – in this case a user gets notification that a session can be continued only on his own risk. And there is an ability to include the website into a personal “black” or “white” list;

- certificates whose identity was approved by the name of an authoritative company or organization. Currently the biggest companies of such kind are Trustwave, Comodo and Symantec. The latest one owns “ Thawte ”, “ Geotrust ” and “ Verisign ” certificates.

The price of security certificate is defined by the authority of the center that releases it. Almost all popular web-browsers were initially equipped with the set of root certificates. User visiting such websites can be sure in the validity of data placed there.

The existing types of digital certificates

The most popular types (modificators) of digital security certificates:

- WildCard. It is intended for confirming the validity of subdomains. The purchase is reasonable, when there is rather big number of subdomains. Buying a separate certificate for each one will cost much cheaper.

- Code Signing. It is required for confirming the clearance of software from malicious code. It Is developed by an authorized manufacturer.

- Secure Email – confirms the security and validity of an email address.

- EV (Extended Verification) – it is the most expensive, but the most reliable certificate. It includes the validity confirmation of domain, physical and email addresses.

There are digital security certificates that are sold together with the insurance. This means that user receives compensation if the web-resource is turned out to be fake. However we failed to find any confirmation about such payments. Using a hosting service many companies provide their website with the required digital security protocols. This is useful for business, as they allow not only secure information using SSL and other security protocols, but also strengthen the authority of the website, speaking for its respectability. You can get more detailed information about such services and prices for them in the technical support service of your hosting provider.