Securing Sensitive data with SSL

Users visiting commercial Web sites are sometimes reluctant to supply sensitive information—such as a credit card or bank account number—for fear that computer vandals will intercept this information. To address this type of security concern you need to protect sensitive information transmitted over a network from all forms of interception and tampering.

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, implemented as a Web server security feature, provides a secure and virtually impervious way of establishing an encrypted communication link with users. SSL guarantees the authenticity of your Web content, while reliably verifying the identity of users accessing restricted Web sites.

Your Web server also supports the Private Communication Technology (PCT) 1.0 protocol. Similar to SSL, PCT includes hardy and efficient encryption features for securing communication.

Creating an SSL Session

An SSL session, which encrypts all data between the client and server, is created using the following process:

  1. The Web browser establishes a secure communication link with the Web server using Secure HTTP protocol (HTTPS).
  2. The Web server sends the browser a copy of its certificate along with its public key. (The certificate enables the browser to confirm the server’s identity and the integrity of the Web content.)
  3. The Web browser and the server engage in a negotiating exchange to determine the degree of encryption to use for securing communications, typically 40 or 128 bits.
  4. The Web browser generates a session key and encrypts it with the server’s public key. The browser then sends the encrypted session key to the Web server.
  5. Using its private key, the server decrypts the session key and establishes a secure channel.
  6. The Web server and the browser then use the session key to encrypt and decrypt transmitted data.
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