What Are the Risks of Domain Validated DV SSL Certificates
Understand the risks of using Domain Validated DV SSL Certificates, know the other option of SSL to secure your website better.
What are SSL Certificates?
SSL certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s information. When an SSL certificate installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.
In recent years, SSL certificates have become a norm to help secure browsing of websites and used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer, and logins.
What are DV SSL Certificates?
There are currently three types of SSL certificates and Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates are the simplest to obtain as it issued fairly quickly without the need to submit company paperwork. As with all SSL Certificates, it still grants standard encryption while displaying the padlock indicator and HTTPS name on the browser address bar.
Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates have the lowest level of authentication used to validate SSL certificates and can hence be easily used by phishing websites to trick users into thinking it is the website of a legitimate organization when it is not. In particular, domain validated SSL certificates do not assure that any legitimate entity connected to the certificate, even if the domain name may imply it.
Common methods that internet criminals do this is by misspelling the name of a prominent legitimate domain name. When a regular user visits the phishing site, they see the familiar https, SSL padlock but don’t necessarily spot the misspelt website name. This leads to users having their details stolen by the cloned phishing site and resulting in a loss of trust between them and the legitimate website owner.
Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates are thus not recommended for organizations looking to have a highly trust-worthy website that can prove that they are the only legitimate website domain owners while any other cloned websites are frauds.
Domain Validation DV SSL Certificate in Browser will look like this, which unable to identify the organization information.
Organization Validation OV or Extended Validation EV SSL Certificate in Browser will look like this, displaying the company name.
To provide safer assurance to users, it would be a better option to obtain an Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate.
Compared to Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates, EV SSL certificates provide the highest level of authenticity but also require website owners to pass a thorough standardized identity verification process. This is to prove that they have exclusive rights to the domain and also confirms its legal, physical, and operational existence. The verification process will hence require more time as an amount of paperwork needed before issuance.
Additionally, EV SSL Certificates also display prominent security indicators such as turning the browser address bar green or a green padlock next to the address. High profile websites and larger organizations that require the require stronger identity assurance benefit the most from owning an EV SSL Certificate.
Another possibly cheaper and less time-consuming method would be to obtain an Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificate. Although OV SSL certificates are still safer than Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates, they are not as safe as EV SSL certificates.
OV SSL Certificates also require a company’s details to verify before issuance, but the requirements are not as extensive and strict as for EV SSL Certificates. It gives credibility to a website by ensuring that there is a legitimate organization or business that has the right to the domain name.