HTTPS Encryption

Instructor: David Gloag
With the rise of the Internet, it makes sense that there would be those out there that want to take advantage. Some at the expense of others. In this lesson, we'll take a look at a technology that is helping to keep us safe - HTTPS.

Secure Communications

The Internet plays an important role in North American society these days, and across the entire planet. It is one of the few technologies that can make such a claim. Why? Because the quality of our lives is predicated on the quality of our communication. Because the Internet is about communication. And because the Internet reaches millions and millions of people on a daily basis.

With the truth of this, it only makes sense that there would be security issues to address. How do you make a conversation private? How do you ensure that purchase information is hidden from those that would take advantage? How do you guarantee that the communication is coming from the intended source? It is clear from these questions that there exists a need to secure and protect data in transit. That is what gave rise to HTTPS.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS, or HTTP Secure, is an acronym that stands for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTP is a text-based communications protocol used in Internet webpages. The secure portion comes from the fact that this form of communication can be protected while in transit. It also provides authentication, meaning that you can use it to guarantee that the data came from the intended source. HTTP and HTTPS are commonly used on the Internet these days.

What is Encryption?

Encryption takes information in one form (which is usually human-readable), and converts it to another form (which is not usually human-readable). It is mathematically based, and it makes use of an external piece of information, known as a key, to perform this conversion. There are several different types of encryption, and they are used for various things. For example, encryption is used when storing personal information on social websites like Instagram, or when transmitting information from your home computer to your favorite business websites like PayPal. In each case, encryption will go virtually unnoticed, because it is working behind the scenes.

What is HTTPS Encryption?

HTTPS encryption is an extension to the standard HTTP protocol. It doesn't change the protocol to any significant degree. Instead, the encryption works as part of the transport layer in a network. This layer, one of the 7 open systems interconnection layers (OSI), implements end-to-end delivery of variable length data regardless of the makeup, or structure, of that data. In other words, it doesn't care what the data is. HTTPS is popular today because of the increasing use of the Internet.

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