Are All SSL Certificates the Same?

The number of businesses that use SSL have increased tremendously over the

past few years and the reasons for which SSL is used has also increased, for

example:

• Some businesses need SSL to simply provide confidentiality (i.e. encryption)

• Some businesses like to use SSL to add more trust or confidence in security

and identity (they want you to know that they are a legitimate company and can

prove it)

As the reasons companies use for SSL have become wider, three different types of

SSL Certificates have been established:

 

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• Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates

• Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificates

• Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates

Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates are issued only when a Certification

Authority (CA) checks to make sure that the applicant actually has the right to the

specific domain name plus the CA conducts a very THOROUGH vetting

(investigation) of the organization. The issuance process of EV Certificates is

standardized and is strictly outlined in the EV Guidelines, which was created at

the CA/Browser Forum in 2007, specifies the required steps that a CA must do

before issuing an EV certificate:

1. Must verify the legal, physical & operational existence of the entity

2. Must verify that the identity of the entity matches official records

3. Must verify that the entity has the exclusive right to use the domain

specified in the EV Certificate

4. Must verify that the entity has properly authorized the issuance of the EV

Certificate

 

EV Certificates are used for all types of businesses, including government entities

and both incorporated & unincorporated businesses. Takes about 10 days to

issue.

A second set of guidelines are for the actual CA and it establishes the criteria to

which a CA needs to be audited before being allowed to issue an EV Certificate. It

is called, the EV Audit Guidelines, and they are always done every year to ensure

the integrity of the issuance process.

Organization Validation (OV) SSL Certificates are issued only when a Certification

Authority (CA) checks to make sure that the applicant actually has the right to the

 

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specific domain name plus the CA does some vetting (investigation) of the said

organization.  This additional vetted company info is displayed to customers when

the Secure Site Seal is clicked on, this gives enhanced visibility to who is behind

the site which in turn gives enhanced trust in the site. Takes about 2 days to issue.

Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates are issued when the CA checks to make

sure that the applicant actually has the right to the specific domain name.  No

company identity information is vetted and no information is displayed other

than encryption information within the Secure Site Seal. DV certs can be issued

immediately.

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