Browsers today mark websites as Secure or Not Secure based on whether they have an SSL certificate. However, SSL certificates only tell a part of the story. Secure tags can make room for misconceptions among users who might assume a website is safe and secure because they have an SSL certificate, though this might not always be necessarily true.
This article breaks down everything you need to know about the differences between SSL and overall website security.
What Is SSL?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol to establish a secure, encrypted connection between a user’s browser and the website’s servers. It stops people from viewing or tampering with the data being sent to and from the host, thereby preventing man-in-the-middle attacks. Therefore, SSL is a great way to secure your website and ensure that the integrity of your users’ data is preserved.
Let’s take a look at different kinds of SSL Certificates:
1. EV or Premium Extended Validation SSL
The EV SSL or Premium Extended Validation Certificates are of the highest grade and require the most documentation to obtain the certificate. They display the name of the organization and a padlock.
2. OV or Organization Validated SSL
The OV SSL or the Organization Validation SSL Certificates require some extra documentation but doesn’t display the name of the organization that owns the domain.
3. DV or Domain Validated SSL
These are the most popular kinds of SSL certificates, but they only verify the domain’s name. This kind of SSL certificate typically requires the least amount of documentation, if any at all.
Can SSL Protect My Website From Malware?
Unfortunately, SSL certificates alone cannot protect your website from malware because its purpose is to solely encrypt user data. But in the absence of other security measures, hackers can use malicious resources to link to your website over HTTP, especially if you have not turned on HTTPS after installing SSL.
Investing in website security can go a long way and help you build a safe space for your users as well as build trust and goodwill. Your websites’ security measures can affect your search engine results, which translates to traffic. Major search engines like Google look for security measures in place in websites when ranking websites on the search results.
Ranking well on search engines is key to bringing in more traffic. A page listed on the fourth or fifth page can only reasonably expect to get a sliver of the traffic that pages listed on the first page of results get.
What Is Website Security?
Website security is a term for the processes, protocols, and technologies used to make your website a secure place for your users. The level of security that a website can implement differs depending on the type of website. A financial service’s website has far more safety concerns than that of a blog.
HTTPS websites are pushed to seem like secure websites – however, this is far from the truth. There are several other layers of security measures, such as the Website Application Firewall (WAF), that are just as important as SSL certificates.
Moreover, blacklists such as Google Safe Browsing and Phish Tank alert users based on the security of the website and whether sites like it are vulnerable to phishing, malware, and hackers. Here’s an interesting read on how you can effectively deal with phishing threats.
How Is SSL Different From Website Security?
Now that we’ve got an understanding of what HTTPS/SSL and website security are, we can move on to delving into the details that separate SSL from Website Security. It is recommended to use websites that have SSL certificates installed, but that alone does not necessarily make the website secure. It’s easy for users to look at the HTTPS symbol and be misled that the site they are visiting could be compromised.
There is more to website security than encrypting data between the user and the host. SSL certificates are a great way to encrypt sensitive user data, but there are other measures that you can and must take to make your website more secure.
The Bottom Line
Security standards are constantly evolving. You need to keep up to stay ahead of hackers and other malicious elements that might be trying to compromise the security of your website.
Although useful, SSL certificates only make up a small portion of all the various measures you could take to protect your website and its data. Opting for the best VPN service is one way you could keep yourself invisible on the internet and stay safe from hackers trying to steal your data.
About the Author :
About Adrienne Campbell
Adrienne Campbell is a security consultant and holds a BS degree in Cyber/Computer Forensics and counterterrorism from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Hacking is one of the most misunderstood areas of modern life and she helps audiences that are interested in tech, coding, and other fields to understand that hacking is something that can be looked into.