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General SSL Certificate Topics

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Introduction to Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates

Extended Validation (EV) Certificates represent the first major update of the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate validation process in a decade. They require substantial changes to the methods by which the authenticity and identity of online businesses are confirmed, helping consumers determine which websites are legitimate businesses having verifiable credentials.

Before EV Certificates, different Certificate Authorities (CAs) employed different types or levels of authentication, creating vulnerabilities that have been exploited for identity theft, fraud, and other online crimes. Extended Validation Certificates standardize the validation system used by all CAs. EV Certificate validation procedures call for all CAs to require applicants to supply the same documentation and verify legitimacy using a prescribed set of sources and methods.  To obtain an EV Certificate, applicants have to provide CAs with more information about their business and the CAs have to verify the accuracy of the data through additional sources, including possible on-site visits to the applying business.
EV Certificates have been designed to take advantage of the enhanced security features of the next generation of Web browsers. Consumers who visit EV-protected websites using next-generation browsers such as Microsoft® Internet Explorer 7™ for example, experience both higher levels of validation security and a new visual indicator that the site's identity has been validated and its security assured. Namely, the browser address window will turn green when an EV Certificate connection has been established.  The EV Certificates also display the locked padlock icon and an "https" prefix to signal a secure connection.

Based on an industry-wide standard, EV Certificates were developed by a group called the CA/Browser Forum, consisting of the leading providers of Internet browsers and SSL Certificates, such as Network Solutions®. Eligibility for EV Certificates is currently restricted only to businesses, associations, and government entities - they are currently not available to individuals.