How to Tell if a Website Has the Certificate
Websites that have SSL certificates display the symbol of a lock on the browser bar before HTTPS, as mentioned in the previous topic. This detail points out that entering your data on the website is a secure procedure, without risks related to hackers.
In this sense, all pages must have SSL certificates, especially those where credit card or username and password data are entered. Therefore, it is essential to verify that the HTTPS actually appears in the address.
Another important purpose of SSL certificates is to ensure the legitimacy of the website, providing security to its users.
How to Install SSL Certificate on a Websit
To obtain an SSL certificate, you will need a Certificate Authority (CA), which consists of a trusted organization capable of signing the certificate with its keys, certifying its validity. This service may be charged, but there are also free alternatives.
Then, your certificate must be installed on the website’s server, which can be facilitated with a quality host and a provider that takes responsibility for this task.
Once you have enabled the SSL certificate, you will be able to load your website over HTTPS and secure its encryption.
Are SSL Certificates Enough to Ensure the Security of a Website?
Information propagated around SSL certificates suggests that their implementation would be enough to ensure the security of a website. This is because when you adhere to this solution, the lock icon appears next to the URL, suggesting protection.
However, despite effective, SSL certificates are not enough to combat the action of cybercriminals, since the interception of the information exchanged between the user and the website is not their only means of action.
Moreover, if SSL deployment does not occur properly, not everything on the website will be protected by encryption. In these cases, the browser will still indicate a protected connection, which can generate a false sense of security.
Other exploits that can make the exchange of information risky include Scripting between websites, MIME mismatches, and Clickjacking.
These practices are widely used by malicious agents to obtain information exchanged between websites and users.
What Are SSL and TLS?
Transport Layer Security (TLS) is an encrypted protocol that provides security when navigating HTTP pages, accessing an email (SMTP), or transferring data in some other way.
The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Protocol came later and also guarantees security for website access. Through this feature, one can encrypt sensitive data so that it is not used by malicious actors.
TLS, in turn, represents a more current and efficient version of SSL, used to configure emails and provide security in information exchanges.
What Are the Differences Between SSL and TLS?
TLS works on different ports and uses more efficient encryption algorithms, including the Keyed ? Hashing for Message Authentication Code (HMAC), while the algorithm used by SSL is the Message Authentication Code (MAC).
These features provide protection in Internet communication protocols (TCP/IP), making it possible to view HTTP and HTTPS terminations.
In the case of HTTP, data travels freely, while HTTPS allows you to encrypt the data through SSL/TLS. To do this, the user needs to set up a secure connection.
Best Practices for the Security of Your Website
In addition to the implementation of SSL certificates, other practices are required to ensure the security of your website. Among them, we can highlight:
Employee Training and Awareness
Information security should be a constant concern in your company, so in addition to investing in technology, it is extremely important to make your employees aware of the risks involved in online interactions and train them to deal with these threats.
Use Plugins Focused on the Security of Your Website
One of the great advantages of using WordPress is the availability of plugins specifically designed to ensure the security of your website. Among the options, we highlight: VaultPress, WordFence, Sucuri, and Defender.
Choose a Good Host
Check the host options available in the market and choose the one that addresses all the demands of your company, including the security of your website users and your business strategy.
History of SSL Certificates
In 1990, the HTTP protocol emerged as a form of communication and became indispensable because of its practicality. However, this protocol did not provide protection for connections and for people who needed to enter their data on web pages.
Three years later, they tried to make this interaction more secure through the S-HTTP protocol, without great success.
The following year, Netscape produced the first version of SSL in order to provide security in communication between servers and clients that took place on the Internet.
Due to its numerous flaws, this version was never officially released, but in 1995, it would be replaced by a second version and, in 1996, by a third improved version.
In 1999, TLS 1.0, an upgrade of SSL V3, emerged, with little difference. Seven years later, in 2006, it was time to release TLS 1.1, which was already very different from its first version.
The changes that came in 2008 with TLS 1.2 were even more pronounced, and made it impossible to downgrade to versions before SSL V3.
In 2015, an outline of what TLS 1.3 would be, designed from the version that preceded it, began.
Digital Certificates: Learn about Their Characteristics
The provisional measure 2020-1 of 2001 enabled the creation of the Brazilian Public Key Infrastructure (ICP Brazil), which operates through the National Institute of Information Technology, an agency linked to the Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic.
From then on, it became possible to issue digital certificates, electronic documents that provide legal validity to operations carried out remotely.
In Brazil, the public key infrastructure is used, which we also call a single-root certificate. In practice, the management committee of ICP-Brasil approves technical and operational standards that must be performed by each Root Certificate Authority.
There are also Certificate Authority (CA) in Brazil, which consist of institutions that issue, distribute, renew, revoke, and manage digital certificates. Another purpose of these entities is to make sure the user has the private key corresponding to the public one, through a process called asymmetric encryption.
It works like this: each person or entity holding a digital certificate has access to two codes: a private certificate, which must be kept confidential, and a public certificate, which can be shared.
This means that whenever a document is encoded with the public key, it can only be decoded using the private key.
Another body associated with the Certificate Units is the Registration Authority (RA), which facilitates the interaction between the Certificate Units and the users, and the Time Certificate Authority, responsible for verifying the timing of the interaction and carrying out legal validation.
Several types of digital certificates differ according to the level of security they provide and their applications. These are:
Type A Certificate: This is a digital certificate used to sign any type of document. It is widely used by self-employed professionals, private organizations, and public agencies that need to save time and financial resources, with quick validations for several documents.
Type S Certificate: It consists of a certificate whose decoding can only be performed by those who have authorization. Therefore, if you work with sensitive documents, which include data such as monetary values and personal information, this is your best alternative.
Type T Certificate: This certificate must be used with the other models. This is because it records the date and time of digital transactions, ensuring this information remains in the files without changing.
Type A, S, or T1 Security: All certificates are secure, but type 1 is the one that provides the least security. This certificate is accessible due to the way keys are generated, with a process done by a program on the computer. It is valid for one year, as it can be accessed using a username and password.
Type A, S, or T3 Security: Type 3 digital certificates are generated and stored in a token or smart card. Therefore, only authorized people can access them, making the operation more secure and with a longer expiration time: three years.
Type A, S, or T4 Security: Here we are talking about ICP-Brasil’s most secure digital certificate model. Your private key is generated and stored within the Encryption Security Module and only allows copying to HSM. It is an inviolable model, which erases data if an invasion occurs. So, it is also known as a digital vault.
Digital certificates are increasingly useful for companies and manage a large number of files and sensitive data. After all, they allow files to be sent over the Internet without being misplaced or corrupted.
In addition, since 2018, there is the NF-e 4.0 version, which makes it possible to issue tax documents without using paper. However, those who want to adopt this electronic model to issue tax receipts need to rely on a digital certificate, because it enables the interaction between the servers of the Federal Revenue Service and the computers of the organization.
Digital Certificates in the World
Digital certificates are not a mechanism used only in Brazil. Other nations have also adhered to this resource in their daily lives.
To begin with, the National Identification Document (DIN), which is being implemented in Brazil, is similar to the models used by other countries, in order to bring agility, ease, and security to citizens.
In DIN, the user identification data is gathered in a chipped device, where professional documents and digital certificates can also be included.
Among the countries that have already joined the electronic signature to authenticate documents, the following stand out:
- The United States;
- Switzerland; and
- Member states of the European Union.
With the mandatory digital identification system for all citizens, Estonia is an example of the efficiency of digital certificates to reduce bureaucracy. There, the process of selling and transferring a vehicle is completed in 15 minutes.
In addition, Estonians can use the same documentation for healthcare, access to bank accounts, distance voting, and identification when traveling in the European Union.
In Spain, people have a single document called DNI, which is integrated into the digital certificate and groups user information.
This documentation includes data on biometrics and can be used to drive a vehicle, travel, and report income tax via the Internet.
Currently, regulations related to digital identification are not shared between countries and each nation has its own mechanisms, security practices, and an ICP of its own.
However, with the need to sign documents online, international agreements may soon be made to allow the use of certificates beyond this barrier.
Different Uses of Digital Certificates
Here’s how the different types of digital certificates are used:
As we have already mZentioned in this article, digital certificates are used by websites, providing trust and security to their users.
Another widely used mode is in emails, to identify users, or to enable the digital signature of documents.
They are also used in credit and debit cards via chips that connect banks to commercial establishments in order to enable secure banking transactions.
They are also useful to digital payment companies that need to authenticate kiosks, ATMs, and vending equipment through their data center.
To counter cyber threats and protect intellectual property, a large number of organizations are inserting digital certificates into the IoT devices they operate.
People who develop computer programs also use digital certificates to prevent device cloning and theft of broadband services.
Senhasegura is part of the MT4 Tecnologia group, which was founded in 2001, focusing on information security.
Present in 54 countries, the company aims to provide cybersecurity to its clients, who now have control over actions and privileged data.
With this, organizations can avoid disruptions related to the performance of malicious actors and information leaks.
The work of senhasegura assumes that digital sovereignty is a right of all and that applied technology is the only way to achieve this goal.
Therefore, it follows the life cycle of privileged access management, before, during, and after access, relying on machine automation, since managing privileged access manually is not enough. Among its commitments, the following stand out:
- Provide more efficiency and productivity to companies, while avoiding interruptions due to expiration;
- Perform automatic audits on the use of privileges;
- Automatically audit privileged changes to detect abuses;
- Ensure client satisfaction through successful deployments;
- Provide advanced PAM capabilities;
- Reduce risks quickly;
- Bring companies into compliance with audit criteria and standards such as PCI DSS, Sarbanes-Oxley, ISO 27001, and HIPAA.
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