Digital certificates encrypt data using Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is based upon the older Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, the industry-standard method for protecting web communications. The TLS security protocol provides data encryption, server authentication, message integrity, and optionally, client authentication for a TCP/IP connection. Because TLS is built into all major browsers and web servers, simply installing a digital certificate turns on their TLS capabilities. TLS comes in two strengths:
•40-bit: so called Secure Server IDs
•128-bit: so called Global Server IDs
The number of bits refers to the length of the "session key" generated by every encrypted transaction. The longer the key, the more difficult it is to break the encryption code.
Most browsers support 40-bit TLS sessions, and the latest browsers enable users to encrypt transactions in 128-bit sessions. Global companies that require international transactions over the web can use global server certificates program to offer strong encryption to their customers. VeriSign's Security Center gives you access to a wealth of security resources, products, technologies, and news.