Recently, there is a huge surge in online purchase and as a consequence, a handful of retail websites have flourished like never before. Global giants such as Walmart.com, Amazon.in, Ebay.in as well as local sites such as Flipkart.com/Myntra.com, SnapDeal.com, Homeshop18.com, Tradus.in etc. are doing brisk business as more and more Indian consumers find online shopping more convenient , profitable and less time consuming. In order to keep pace with today’s fast lifestyle, online shopping provides a comfortable and hassle-free alternative to tedious and tiresome in-store shopping. All the shopping websites offer special discounts and deals to lure customers to their websites and well informed shoppers save considerably by these discount offers.
However as all good things have some dark sides, online shopping also has a disadvantage, namely the security risk. The online purchase is accompanied by online payment where users have to enter credit/debit card numbers and passwords. This private information once entered by the user in the shopping website can be picked up by fraudsters who can use it for making illegal financial transactions resulting to financial and other losses to the customer. On the other hand, the customer can become victim of phishing (or spoofing) attacks whereby cyber criminals can divert the users towards a fake website and collect credit/debit card and other personal information from the user for illegal & unsolicited use.
SSL (Secure Socket layer) certificates protect the users from such security attacks and offer safe and secured means of performing online transactions. Secure Socket Layer is a communication technology by which data is transferred through internet in encrypted form so that nobody can read or tamper the data in order to misuse it for their personal benefit. SSL certificates are digital certificates issued by a govt. registered Certification Authority (CA) to a shopping website. The SSL certificate shows authenticated information such as name, address, date of issue of the certificate, date of expiry and encryption keys (public) of the shopping website. This identity information is verified by CA beforehand following a stringent verification procedure in order to make the certification process trustworthy. An SSL certificate employs encryption of any sensitive information (such as credit/debit card number etc.) entered by the user in the shopping website during online transactions. Thus SSL makes user data tamper-proof during transit through internet and protects the customer from any financial or other loss.
At the time of making online purchase the user would want to check if the shopping website is authenticated by a CA and contains an SSL certificate or not. If the website shows that it contains an SSL certificate provided by a renowned CA (such as Verisign), the customer feels safe for making online purchase using that shopping website. Thus SSL certificates make any shopping website trustworthy for making safe and secure financial transactions at the time of making online purchase.