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Secure Sockets Layer
You've probably never heard of SSL. This shouldn't be a shock. It may be that you've used SSL and you don't even realize it. Have you ever shopped online? Done any sort of transaction involving a credit card? Has your browser ever told you that "you are entering a secure area?" All of these are signs that you've used SSL and you didn't even realize it.
SSL is the server-side technology (meaning that it resides on the server and the browser interacts with it) that allows web browsing to be encrypted. Without SSL transactions involving credit cards and other sensitive information could easily be intercepted. Prior to strong encryption in browsers, credit card theft from packet sniffing was common.
If you use the web for anything that might contain sensitive information, you should download the SSL secure version of the browser. The encryption uses a key-based system. The strength of the encryption is measured by the size of the encryption key.
If you're a U.S. citizen, you should get the 128 bit strong version of your web browser. It makes it far more difficult for your vital information to fall into the wrong hands. While 128 bit encryption can be broken, very few people have the resources of the FBI or NSA at their disposal.
128 bit Netscape can be obtained from:
128 bit Internet Explorer can be obtained from: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/download/ie5all.htm.