Skip navigation

SSL Security IT and Library Services

The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the most widely deployed security protocol used today. It is essentially a method to provide a secure channel between two machines operating over the Internet or an internal network. In today’s Internet focused world, the SSL protocol is typically used when a web browser needs to securely connect to a web server over the inherently insecure Internet.

Technically, SSL is a transparent protocol which requires little interaction from the end user when establishing a secure session. In the case of a browser for instance, users are alerted to the presence of SSL when the browser displays a padlock, or, in the case of Extended Validation SSL, when the address bar displays both a padlock and a green bar. This is the key to the success of SSL – it is an incredibly simple experience for end users.

  UoG Portal secure URL 

What Happens When a Browser Encounters SSL? 

  1. A browser attempts to connect to a website secured with SSL.
  2. The browser requests that the web server identify itself.
  3. The server sends the browser a copy of its SSL Certificate.
  4. The browser checks whether it trusts the SSL Certificate. If so, it sends a message to the server.
  5. The server sends back a digitally signed acknowledgement to start an SSL encrypted session.
  6. Encrypted data is shared between the browser and the server and https and the padlock icon appears (and the address bar may turn green).

How is SSL used today? 

  • To secure online credit card transactions.
  • To secure system logins and any sensitive information exchanged online.
  • To secure webmail and applications like Outlook Web Access, Exchange and Office Communications Server.
  • To secure workflow and virtualisation applications like Citrix Delivery Platforms or cloud-based computing platforms.
  • To secure the connection between an e-mail client such as Microsoft Outlook and an e-mail server such as Microsoft Exchange.
  • To secure the transfer of files over https and FTP(s) services such as website owners updating new pages to their websites or transferring large files.
  • To secure hosting control panel logins and activity like Parallels, cPanel, and others.
  • To secure intranet based traffic such as internal networks, file sharing, extranets, and database connections.
  • To secure network logins and other network traffic with SSL VPNs such as VPN Access Servers or applications like the Citrix Access Gateway.

The above scenarios fall into one of the following themes:

The data being transmitted over the Internet or network needs confidentiality. In other words, people do not want their credit card number, account login, passwords or personal information to be exposed over the Internet.

The data needs to remain integral, which means that once credit card details and the amount to be charged to the credit card have been sent, a hacker sitting in the middle cannot change the amount to be charged and where the funds should go.

Your organisation needs identity assurance to authenticate itself to customers / extranet users and ensure them they are dealing with the right organisation.

Your organisation needs to comply with regional, national or international regulations on data privacy, security and integrity.

SSL at University of Greenwich.

To check the encryption on services provided at the University, in any of the main browsers, simply click on the padlock icon in the address bar and look for the information regarding the certificate.

 UoG Portal Padlock information