Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are cryptographic protocols designed to provide improved security and data integrity for digital communications over modern networks including the internet. TLS and SSL encryption protects information being transported by preventing it from being intercepted by anyone who is not intended to receive the transmission. There are several continuingly evolving versions of these protocols in widespread use online. Applications like web browsers, email, instant messaging software and voice-over-IP (VoIP) services all use encryption in varying degrees to protect users from privacy breaches, identity theft, financial malfeasance and character harm.
The SSL protocol was originally developed by Netscape and released in February of 1995. SSL became the foundation from which TLS was first defined in RFC 2246 in January of 1999 by an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Visa, MasterCard, American Express and many leading financial institutions have endorsed SSL in some form or another for credit based commerce via the Internet.
It is important to acknowledge the notion that no form of security is completely without risk. As protocols continue to evolve, so do the attempts by ‘hackers’ to pierce digital security. Therefore, the continual upgrade and implementation of security patches and privacy measures is essential to providing the most secure consumer transactional gateway possible.
WebsiteSecure.org inspects sites to ensure they are utilizing SSL encryption and that the version of SSL being utilized does not exhibit any known security flaws or privacy concerns. While we are limited in what we can assess as impartial outsiders, a determination by our analyst that a site does utilize SSL and that it appears to be fully functional does offer potential consumers and merchants a level of additional protection worthy of your attention.