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SSL-encrypted tunnels protect sensitive data traveling the Information Superhighway.

It's no accident the Internet has been called the Information Superhighway. Huge volumes of traffic flow freely and, unless protected, in the open. E-commerce demands an increasing exchange of highly sensitive information, from credit card numbers to financial data, safely across the public network.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) secure Internet traffic in an encrypted tunnel, ensuring that it is seen only when it arrives at its destination, using digital certificates to guarantee that a Web site is what it purports to be.

Most Internet users have performed some type of online transaction involving SSL or TLS. The familiar closed padlock icon that appears in the Web browser window indicates that SSL or TLS is being used to secure the connection.

In this article, we'll explain the differences between SSL and TLS and how they work, and offer some important points to keep in mind when implementing them in your organization.

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This was first published in April 2006

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