How SSL Works in a Browser

Jeffrey Vocell Avatar


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In today’s digital age, online security is of utmost importance. One crucial aspect of ensuring secure communication between a web browser and a website is SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer. SSL is a protocol that encrypts data transmitted between a browser and a website, making it difficult for hackers to intercept and read sensitive information.

When a user enters a website URL starting with “https://” instead of “http://”, it indicates that SSL is being used. Here’s how SSL works in a browser:

1. Handshake: The browser initiates a secure connection by sending a request to the website’s server. The server responds by sending its SSL certificate, which contains a public key.

2. Certificate Verification: The browser checks the SSL certificate’s validity and authenticity. It verifies if the certificate is issued by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) and if it hasn’t expired or been revoked.

3. Encryption: Once the certificate is verified, the browser generates a unique session key. It encrypts this key using the server’s public key from the SSL certificate and sends it back to the server.

4. Decryption: The server receives the encrypted session key and decrypts it using its private key. Both the browser and server now have a shared session key for secure communication.

5. Secure Data Transfer: From this point onwards, all data exchanged between the browser and the server is encrypted using the session key. This prevents unauthorized access and ensures the confidentiality and integrity of the transmitted information.

6. Trust Indicators: Browsers display trust indicators such as a padlock icon or a green address bar to indicate that the connection is secure. Users can click on these indicators to view the website’s SSL certificate details.

By implementing SSL, browsers provide a secure environment for users to browse the web, make online transactions, and share sensitive information without worrying about eavesdropping or data breaches.

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