Why Is SSL So Important For Online Casinos?
SSL is an encryption protocol standard you will encounter everywhere on the Internet. That, of course, also includes visits to Canadian online casinos. But what is SSL? And why is it so important when playing online casinos?
What is the SSL protocol, and how does it apply to online casinos?
In basic terms, the Internet is a web of computers connected all around the world. Whenever you click your web browser to load a certain online casino Canada website, click on a webpage button, or complete and submit some kind of web-based form, you are actually sending a ‘request’ from your own device to a server (a large-scale computer hosting the site you want to visit or contact). But before your request arrives at its destination, it will journey through other servers and networks on the way.
If you are connected to the Internet using just a standard unencrypted link, any data or information included in your request would appear as plain text while being handed on from one webserver to the next. Essentially, your message could then be intercepted by anyone who could gain access to just one of those web servers. That would enable a hacker, or any other person, to read the contents of your original request and potentially use the information for their own purposes. The list of suspects here is fairly long: your message could be easily accessed by a server operator, fall into the hands of a hacker who had gained illegal access to the server, be misdirected by a poorly configured server and thus revealed to unintended recipients, or simply browsed by an ‘interested’ government official looking for anyone contravening Canada’s government regulations of some kind.
So if you have sensitive information to send across the Internet, this is not really an ideal situation. It could mean revealing your Internet banking login information, your personal credit card number together with its expiry date, or perhaps your password giving access to your own account with your favourite Canada online casino. That’s why all web servers usually expect connections made via web browsers to appear as an encrypted connection which uses a web security protocol known as SSL – which means Secure Sockets Layer.
Avoiding technicalities at this early stage, SSL is a practical means of protecting data transfers. So instead of linked servers being able to see, read and record unencrypted messages like the following:
they would be asked to relay the same request in an encrypted format, which might appear as:
The major advantage of such SSL encryption is that it is only your own browser and the final web server you wish to address that will have enough intelligible information to be able to read the message information you intend to send. That’s why reputable online casinos use this technology.
What is TLS protocol?
Transport Layer Security functions in a similar way to SSL. It’s just a rather more modern version of the same idea which is thus becoming ever more common. In fact, though lots of online casinos continue to mention SSL on their website, the reality may well be that the site uses a combination of TLS and SSL encryption, or maybe even TLS alone.
Furthermore, you might possibly see references to SSL 3.0 and/or TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and TLS 1.2. These are all different versions of security encryption, but the essential point to recognise is that these are all robust and secure options. The differences mainly occur because an online casino must make sure the site can accommodate the needs of the variety of customers and others who regularly use the site.
Another common issue is the use of different strength encryption, with SSL and TLS protocols often being described as having either 128-bit or 256-bit security keys. Though website information may also refer to ‘key exchange mechanisms’ and use various other alpha-numeric descriptors, the primary information which users need to understand is what the numbers 128 and 256 actually mean and, therefore, how they impact upon secure encryption.
In a binary coding system, which uses a string of ones and zeros to reference such security keys, 128-bit security uses 128 of these elements to generate a security key, while 256-bit security uses a total of 256. Such information may mean little to an average website visitor. However, to a professional cryptologist it means a 128-bit key will probably take around 100 years to hack, while a 256-bit key will take considerably longer to access.
How do I know if an online casino is encrypted?
Having said why encryption is so important, it’s also vital to be able to recognise gambling websites which use secure encryption protocols. The most practical method is to look carefully at the URL bar which appears at the very top of your web-browser window. In every current version of major browsers, the display will include a small padlock, a green icon, or an address bar which otherwise verifies your browser-to-server connection features a secure format.
A further check to make is to look at the URL of the web address you want to access. If an address begins as http:// then your Internet connection will remain unsecure. However, if the web address begins with https:// (i.e. it includes an additional ‘s’), then regardless of which method of digital encryption is actually in use, this indicates you can safely assume your online casino website connection will be secure.
Why should I play at encrypted online casinos?
Though some readers may still be a little confused when reading through all this technical talk, the ‘bottom line’ is that it’s only by playing encrypted online casinos that you can guarantee your Internet connection will be truly secure. Clicking on the padlock icon will allow you to read how modern cryptography is being employed to protect you while on the site. But if you should choose to play casino games on any web-based casino site which is not secure, then you risk having your personal information and financial data stolen from the moment you log in, whenever you make a financial deposit, and even when you attempt to make a withdrawal of your winnings from such a website.