SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security)

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are foundational technologies for securing communications over networks. They are protocols designed to provide privacy, authentication, and integrity to data transmitted between computers on the internet. While SSL was the original protocol created in the mid-1990s for this purpose, TLS is its successor, offering improved security features. Over time, TLS has largely supplanted SSL, but the term "SSL/TLS" is still commonly used to refer to both protocols.

At its core, SSL/TLS works by encrypting the data exchanged between a user's browser and a server, making it incomprehensible to anyone who might intercept it. This encryption is crucial for protecting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, and personal data, ensuring that it can only be understood by the intended recipient.

The process begins when a user connects to a secured website, indicated by "https://" in the web address. The browser and server then perform a "handshake," which involves the exchange of digital certificates. These certificates verify the server's identity to the browser, preventing impersonation by malicious actors. Once the server is authenticated, the browser and server agree on encryption methods and exchange unique keys used for encrypting the data being sent back and forth.

SSL/TLS also provides data integrity, ensuring that the data transmitted remains unchanged and uncorrupted during its journey. This is achieved through mechanisms that detect any alterations to the data.

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