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Webbots, Spiders, and Screen Scrapers by Michael Schrenk

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A Quick Overview of Web Encryption

The following is a hasty overview of how web encryption works. While incomplete, it's here to provide a greater appreciation for everything PHP/CURL does and to help you be semi-literate in SSL conversations with peers, vendors, and clients.

Once a web client recognizes it is talking to a secure server, it initiates a handshake process, where the web client and server agree on the type of encryption to use. This is important because web clients and servers are typically capable of using several ciphers or encryption algorithms. Two commonly used encryption ciphers include Digital Encryption Standard (DES) and Message Digest Algorithm (MD5).

The server replies to the web client with a variety of data, including ...

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