A Secure Sockets Layer certificate authority (SSL certificate authority) is a party that maintains information on the status of SSL certificates. To establish a website as secure, a SSL certificate must be signed.
Using private and public keys, a Web browser requests a secure page and verifies that a server has an appropriate SSL digital certificate. The role of a SSL certificate authority is to provide objective information about these certificates, delivering effective security for a large number of Internet transactions.
Without a SSL certificate authority, most online businesses would cease to exist without the ability ensure the safety of customer against hackers and other Internet criminals.
As of January 2014, the most popular SSL certificate authorities are as follows:
- Symantec Group