What is SSL?

eSunsations is an encrypted and protected website. It is protected by something called an SSL. What's an SSL?

SSL is the Secure Socket Layer, a protocol of Internet communication that encrypts data leaving point A and decrypts it when it arrives at point B. The entire purpose of SSL certificates and HTTPS usage is to make data difficult or impossible to use if it’s intercepted. If, for example, there was a malicious server between point A and point B, that logged and saved all data passing through it, data encrypted by SSL would be impossible to use.

For this reason, SSL is by default required for virtually all financial transactions online. Consider a more physical scenario, one that isn’t really feasible but which illustrates the point. Say that you want to buy something from a store. You select your item and stand next to it in the aisles. You then write down the item name and product number on a piece of paper, put your credit card on top of that paper, and hand it to someone walking down the aisle. They bring it to the end of the aisle, where it is handed off to someone else, who brings it to the front of the store. At the front of the store, someone else takes it and brings it to the cashier. The cashier then rings up your transaction.

Would you shop at a store that used that process? Ignoring, of course, the inefficiency of the transaction compared to traditional shopping. I wouldn’t. Anyone, at any point, could simply look at your credit card and take your number, name, confirmation code, expiration date; everything necessary to use it for their own ends.

The Internet works like this analogy. You don’t send your data directly to the shop in question. Instead, your communication passes through several servers and hubs along the way. There’s one in your house, if you have a router; it passes data from several computers to one Internet connection. There’s another, similar router at the street level, servicing the data from your neighborhood. There will be another serving your area of town, and so on until you reach an Internet backbone. Then your data has to go through the chain on down, until it reaches the server hosting the website. You just don’t see any of this data passing because it happens incredibly quickly.

Now imagine the same scenario, except your credit card is sealed inside an opaque box that cannot be opened except by the cashier, who has a special key only they have, and that fits only that box and no other box. You can be assured, then, that passing your order and credit box along the chain is perfectly safe; no one except the cashier can read your credit card information.

That’s how SSL works, and if you can’t see the immediate benefits to security, We're not sure what to tell you.