Monday, September 26, 2011

[Podcast] Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates Demystified

August 24, 2010 by  
Filed under cPanel

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Lindsey White:
OK. And we’re back with our official cPanel Podcast. My name is Lindsey White, and today we’re going to be interviewing Thomas Donnelly, our system administrator at cPanel. And we’re going to be talking about “Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates Demystified”. And the first question I’d like to ask is, what is SSL?

Thomas Donnelly: SSL is a way you can use encryption to protect end users going to the server, so sensitive data like credit card numbers can’t be interfered with, or seen by people who want to do nasty things with it.

Lindsey: Is there a difference between SSL and TLS?

Thomas: Yeah. Actually SSL requires its own port to run on, where TLS would actually run over everything else. Like a standard protocol, it’s just an additional layer of security. Both of them are considered secure and both of them are used everyday.

Lindsey: OK. And why should our users use SSL?

Thomas: That’s actually a really good question. Without SSL or any form of encryption, it’s very easy for any script kiddie to sit with a laptop and watch packets flow across a network in your local coffee shop, including your credit card number flying with it. Using SSL encrypts these packets, so that kid sees nothing but a bunch of garbage, and that other person can get whatever they’re ordering.

Lindsey: Good to know. And how do our users upload an existing certificate?

Thomas: It’s actually really easy. If you open up your cPanel interface, and scroll down to “Security”, there’s a little icon that says “SSL/TLS Manager”. Select that and you should see a couple of sections there that say “Private Keys”, “Certificate Signing Request” and “Certificates”. Just select “Certificates” and upload a certificate there, and select “Key” and upload your key there.

Lindsey: And how about generating a new certificate?

Thomas: There’s a button that says ‘”Certificate Signing Request”. Just click that and fill out all the necessary information, and it will give what you need to send off to your Certificate Signing Authority. And they will take care of you and get you a brand new certificate and key.

Lindsey: And I see there’s an option for managing certificate sharing in a cPanel interface. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Thomas: If you want to do certificate sharing, you’d have to contact a provider to use WHM to take care of that, and they will be more than likely to help you.

Lindsey: Well that’s the end of our official cPanel Podcast.


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