Simplyeasier Posted May 16, 2005 Share Posted May 16, 2005 What is (or Isn't) SSL ? SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This is technology derived in part from the military that encrypts data transfers across the internet. There are several flavours of SSL but the most prevalent one today is 128 bit encryption, but watch out 256 bit encryption is on it's way ! For an e-trader, SSL encryption protects your customers transaction details as they are passed back and forth between their browser and your server \ domain. The data encryption happens at one end using a key and is deciphered at the other end using an equivalent key. The permutations for how data can be encrypted are astronomical making it virtually theft and interference proof during transit. SSL DOES NOT PROTECT your server from attacks, nor your admin or catalog from malicious hacks. In order to protect your server and files you need to use facilities such as firewalls, virus checkers, Apache and IIS user and password protection for directories and files. Why Do I Need SSL ? You need SSL if you are selling to the public for two very good reasons. 1) Your customers expect it - As surfers become more sophisticated they look at your site and want to make sure their details will be safe should they order products. SSL seals are part - but a big part - in that re-assurance process. If the choice between two sites comes down to which offers transaction security - do you want to be the site that misses out ? 2) Even if you have unsophisticated customers who do not look for SSL encryption before they buy - if the data they send you is intercepted and misused - you could land up being in heavy lawsuits for amongst many other things negligence. This is a small possibility - but do you want to take the risk ? How Does SSL Work With OsCommerce ? The workings of SSL with osCommerce are quite straightforward. Once your SSL is installed - see sections below, you set the configuration paths for https:// in catalog/includes/configure.php and admin/includes/configure.php, enable SSL and the code takes care of the rest. If you look through the code you will see example after example of statements that refer to SSL where osC is making a decision based on request type as to whether to display the secured or non secured pages. In short neither you nor your customers has to type in https:// into the address line to get to secure pages. osCommerce will identify from the configuration if SSL is installed and direct browsers to the correct page depending on what the browser is doing on your site. How Do I Get SSL ? 1) Surf and find a Certificate issuer you feel happy with where you buy your SSL cerificate for a period of time 1 year, 2 year etc etc) Things to look out for are a) They own or have a trusted root in most browsers. All browsers come pre-installed with so called Trusted roots. These prevent Joe Shmoe and his cousin Joe Bloggs from issuing worthless certificates that cannot do the encrypting to unsuspecting buyers. To see trusted roots if you use IE go to Internet Options under tools and select the content tab where you will see in the middle section all the trusted root certs installed on IE and their issuers. b ) If they don't have a trusted root in most browsers make sure they have a cert known as a chaining cert that links whatever they sell to you with a trusted root. What is the difference - Trusted root sellers are EXPENSIVE and very well recognised brands. Chaining certs are affordable - They are still 128 bit encryption hence no less secure - but the brands are less well known. 2) Get your host to raise a CSR (Certificate Signing request) - To do this the host will need certain information from you, especially if they are not also your registrar. Such info will be your domains registered admistrator. This info will be required by the SSL issuer. Along with the CSR they also generate a key that will be used to encrypt and decipher data transmissions from your server \ domain. - Things to look out for are Your certificate will encrypt data in a very precise way - if the cert is issued to www.yourdomain.com it will NOT encrypt transfers between yourdomain.com and browsers and vice versa. So make sure you instruct your host to get the CSR raised with the correct AND full name of the domain you want to be encrypted. I normally use the domain name without the www. qualifier because servers for a number of reasons can strip the www. off, but I have yet to see a server add it on without a deliberate redirect. 3) Send the CSR to your cert issuer who will vet the details and write to the administrator noted when the CSR was raised. 4) Assuming you are the administrator of your domain - you will have to acknowledge the mail from the issuer and OK the SSL. 5) The issuer will raise a SSL cert and send it to you. If you are using a chaining issuer they will also send a chain certificate. 6) Send these to your host who will install as follows : a) The SSL cert will be installed in a directory on your server along with the chaining certificate if applicable. b ) They will also instal the key they generated in step 2 above. c) They will then add certain statements known as directives to your Apache configure files. These tell Apache that the site has SSL encryption certification. Making SSL Work With The Catalog and Admin In order to make SSL work with osCommerce you need to set the correct configuration paths in a) catalog/includes/configure.php // Define the webserver and path parameters // * DIR_FS_* = Filesystem directories (local/physical) // * DIR_WS_* = Webserver directories (virtual/URL) define('HTTP_SERVER', 'http://www.yourdomain.com'); // eg, http://localhost - should not be empty for productive servers define('HTTPS_SERVER', 'https://yourdomain.com'); // eg, https://localhost - should not be empty for productive servers define('ENABLE_SSL', true); // secure webserver for checkout procedure? define('HTTP_COOKIE_DOMAIN', 'www.yourdomain.com'); define('HTTPS_COOKIE_DOMAIN', 'yourdomain.com'); define('HTTP_COOKIE_PATH', '/catalog/'); define('HTTPS_COOKIE_PATH', '/catalog/'); define('DIR_WS_HTTP_CATALOG', '/catalog/'); define('DIR_WS_HTTPS_CATALOG', '/catalog/'); b ) admin/includes/configure.php // Define the webserver and path parameters // * DIR_FS_* = Filesystem directories (local/physical) // * DIR_WS_* = Webserver directories (virtual/URL) define('HTTP_SERVER', 'http://www.yourdomain.com'); // eg, http://localhost - should not be empty for productive servers define('HTTP_CATALOG_SERVER', 'http://www.yourdomain.com'); define('HTTPS_CATALOG_SERVER', 'https://yourdomain.com'); define('ENABLE_SSL_CATALOG', 'true'); // secure webserver for catalog module * Note the assumptions above - The certificate was issued WITHOUT the www. qualifier and this shop is installed in Catalog directory ONE level below root. In normal working - these changes above will result in a small padlock being shown in the bottom right of your browser status bar when you navigate to a secure page AND your address line will show the https:// URL instead of http:// Trouble Shooting 1) Security Alert The alert box says info you exchange with this site cannot be viewed or changed by others. However there is a problem with the sites security certificate. The box has 3 levels of alert a) The certificate is from a trusted certifying authority - Green tick for good or Red cross for bad will show b ) The security certificate date is valid - Green tick for good or Red cross for bad will show c) The name on the security certificate is invalid or does not match the name of the site - Green tick for good or Red cross for bad will show If the problem is a) then you need to take account of How Do I Get SSL point 1 above ! If the problem is B ) you need to extend the certificates validity - refer to the issuer. If the problem is c) Your certificate has probably been issued with or without the www. and you have used the other spellng in your configure files. Make sure the cert name as issued is used in the configure.php files. (See How Do I Get SSL point 2 above) 2) This page has both secure and insecure items This alert appears if the secured page the browser is trying to show has objects or references that point to non secured domains. So for instance if you had a graphical image of credit cards as processed by your gateway and say you were hotlinking to the images with a piece of code such as <img src="http://mycreditcardprocessor.com.....> That image is not on your encrypted domain hence the alert would show. Often this problem will appear from one or more of three sources a) Where you are hotlinking images for your products from the wholesalers server b ) objects in your footer c) objects in your boxes in the columns 3) Page 404 (unavailable) If you set your site up and during instal you choose SSL security WITHOUT having done the stuff in here you may get 404's when you try to access secured pages. Wrapping Up 1) Self issued certificates Some people have dedicated servers and even on some shared server you can raise a self issued SSL certification. This does everything as above except the certificate root does not exist in browsers. Therefore your site may be secure (although I do not profess to know if self certificates offer 128 bit encryption), BUT your site visitors will ALWAYS get the alert in Trouble Shooting point 1. Even though the alert says the site is safe, this is perhaps worse than not having a certificate as it alerts people to the fact that there is a problem with the certificate - and people do not like problems !!! 2) Shared SSL certificates Talk to your host for the path you need to apply in your configure.php paths Charles A kite flies highest AGAINST the wind ! "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a lover in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ~ WOO HOO!! What a ride!" Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.