Secure Socket Layer Encryption

What Does Secure Socket Layer Encryption Mean?

Secure Socket Layer Encryption (SSL Encryption) is a process undergone by data under the SSL protocol in order to protect that data during transfer and transmission by creating a channel, uniquely encrypted, so that the client and the server have a private communication link channel over the public Internet. This is how encryption protects data during transmission.


Techopedia Explains Secure Socket Layer Encryption

Secure Socket Layer Encryption works through the use of SSL certificates which contain a key pair and verified user identification information. When a Web client connects to a secure server following SSL protocols, the server shares a public key and unique session key with the client in order to establish the encryption method to be used for secure connection. The client then needs to acknowledge that it recognizes and trusts the server who issued the certificate. This is called the "SSL handshake" and is what signals the start of the secure session which protects message privacy and integrity, as well as server security.

Depending on what SSL certificate the website has bought from their certification authority (CA), encryption strength can be as low as 40-bit, or up to 128-bit or above. 128-bit encryption has 288 times as many combinations as that of 40-bit encryption—over a trillion times stronger. Using a brute-force attack, a motivated hacker with the proper tools would require at least a billion years to break the encryption.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.