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The Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure or commonly called HTTPS, is a protocol for securing communication over a computer network. It is consist of communication over Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) within an encrypted connection by Transport Layer Security.
HTTPS uses an asymmetric Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) system. This system uses two keys – the public key and the private key. Anything the public key encrypts, the private key decrypts. The same process works the other way around.
As the name suggests, private key encrypted websites must be strictly kept protected, the owner having sole access to the protected key. A padlock icon is usually added on the address bar when a protected website is opened.
Relatively, the public key is intended to give anyone and everyone who wishes to access the secured site the ability to decrypt the information that was encrypted with a private key.
The greatest benefit one can get from using HTTPS are as follows:
- Customer information, like credit card numbers, is encrypted and cannot be intercepted
- Visitors can verify you are a registered business and that you own the domain
- Customers are more likely to trust and complete purchases from sites that use HTTPS
- Security is it’s main functionality
The Internal Process In Keeping Your Web Communication Security
Comodo has the perfect article explaining how HTTPS security works and what happens behind the screen:
What is a HTTPS certificate?
When you request an HTTPS connection to a webpage, the website will initially send its SSL certificate to your browser. This certificate contains the public key needed to begin the secure session. Based on this initial exchange, your browser and the website then initiate the ‘SSL handshake’. The SSL handshake involves the generation of shared secrets to establish a uniquely secure connection between yourself and the website.
When a trusted SSL Digital Certificate is used during a HTTPS connection, users will see a padlock icon in the browser address bar. When an Extended Validation Certificate is installed on a web site, the address bar will turn green.
Why Is an SSL Certificate Required?
All communications sent over regular HTTP connections are in ‘plain text’ and can be read by any hacker that manages to break into the connection between your browser and the website.
This presents a clear danger if the ‘communication’ is on an order form and includes your credit card details or social security number. With a HTTPS connection, all communications are securely encrypted. This means that even if somebody managed to break into the connection, they would not be able decrypt any of the data which passes between you and the website. Read more on Comodo
An Extra ‘S’ Really Helps