Webnerd ZA - Website Security

In this topic we address various aspects of website security.  We attempt to write about the most recent threats that all site owners should be aware of.

What is SSL

If you have ever purchased anything online then you should be aware of secure sockets layer or SSL. SSL encrypts information supplied to the website and its presence is indicated by the small lock next to the address in the address bar of your browser.
SSL is a digitally signed certificate issued by one of a few authorised companies whose task it is to enhance online security.
These certificates either show that the address is verified and in some cases that the company that owns the website is verified also.
This ensures that when entering your banking and or other personal information online that the recipient is the correct one.

SSL certificates offered by Symantec also offer addtional features such as website vulnerability analysis as well as website attack protection.

Remember that this type of protection can only go so far - you are still required to be astute. Consider for example the address "paypai.com." At first glance this address can appear to be legitimate and is the address of the online payment portal paypal.com. However the letter "L" was replaced with the letter "i" and the certificate now is validating the paypai addresss and not paypal.

The rule therefore is quite simple if you see the lock and the address is as you expected then it should be safe to supply your personal information.

Note that transport layer security or TLS is the same thing, SSL simply being the predessor of TLS.

Written by: Lance Davey

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