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J2EE™ and Beyond: Design, Develop, and Deploy World-Class Java™ Software by Art Taylor

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The SSL Protocol

The SSL protocol involves several processing steps known as a handshake protocol to establish the secure communication channel. Should any of these steps fail, the channel will not be established and the connection will fail. These steps are as follows:

1.
Determine the cipher suite to use.
2.
Optionally authenticate the server.
3.
Agree on an encryption mechanism.
4.
If necessary, exchange secret keys using a public key.
5.
Begin encrypted communication.

The ability for the client and server to negotiate to determine the cipher suite to use is one of the flexibility features of SSL. A number of cipher suites are available, and this handshake protocol allows the client and server to mutually determine the best protocol to use.

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