What is an Extended Validation (EV) Certificate?

Overview

Extended Validation Certificate, also known as EV Certificate, is a highly valued SSL/TLS Certificate and requires significant efforts from Certificate Authorities to validate it. During the verification of an Extended Validation SSL Certificate, the website’s owner has to go through a detailed and globally standardized identity verification process to prove exclusive rights to use a domain, confirm its legal, operational, and physical existence, and prove that the entity has authorized the certificate’s issuance process. The certificate contains this verified identity information.

Certificate Authorities (CAs) demand domain owners to provide additional documentation, such as a signed authorization form, a signed subscriber agreement, and documentation validating their business or their Extended Validation request in order to obtain an EV certificate. Then, the domain owner’s name, legal, operational, physical existence, and other properties are verified by a verification partner who goes over all of this information. After a successful verification procedure, a fully certified EV certificate is provided, a digital file with the organization’s name in the address bar.

The other certificates, such as Organization Validation (OV) and Domain Validation (DV) certificates, do not require comprehensive verification. For example, in the case of a DV certificate, the Website owner does not require to demonstrate administrative control over the domain. And also, the OV certificate verification process is not extensive as of EV certificate. It only includes the identity information of the website operator.

Due to the extensive verification process of the EV certificate provides a high level of authentication with SSL/TLS certificate, and visitors have a high level of trust on the website having an EV certificate.

Types of Extended Validation Certificates

EV certificates are of three types:

  • Single Domain EV Certificate: These certificates are used to secure only one domain. These are ideal for small online stores and websites.
  • Multi-Domain EV Certificates: These certificates are used to protect subdomains and multiple domains. These certificates can be used for complex websites.
  • Code Signing: These certificates are used by developers to secure their products by digitally signing them. Learn more about code signing.

Benefits of Extended Validation SSL Certificates

The primary idea behind extended validation SSL certificates is to provide a high level of trust and security than most regular SSL certificates. Because enterprise websites generally deal with highly protected client data, this makes them an excellent choice for protecting them. The following are some major advantages of using EV SSL certificates:

  • Assurance at a Higher Level: EV SSL Certificates offer a high confidence level than Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificates. Before a certificate is issued, EV verification requires the CA to confirm the organization’s legal identity, physical presence, and operational existence. Whereas DV Certificates have no identifying information in the organization name field, the end-user cannot trust the certificate to validate who is on the other end, even though they technically allow encrypted transaction. The process of EV certificate verification includes:
    • The user making the request has the legal right to use the domain.
    • The requestor has authorized their permission for the certificate to be issued.
    • The requestor’s physical existence and legal status.
    • Whether the entity identifies corresponds to official records.
  • Protect Against Phishing Attacks: Scams on the internet have become more complex and well-coordinated, reducing consumer confidence, critical to online business. Hackers utilize a variety of methods to collect personal and sensitive information through phishing. Due to the strict validation standards for EV Certificates, a hacker would never be able to pass all of the checks, making fake EV Certificates extremely unlikely. In the following ways, the EV certificate counteracts these attacks:
    • The Extended Validation standards demand that the party requesting the certificate be thoroughly vetted. Because phishing sites, by their nature, involve identity theft, this vetting prohibits a criminal from obtaining a certificate in the spoofing target’s name.
    • When an EV certificate is active, the green bar indicator is prominent at the top of the browser. Having the EV certificate on the web page makes the faked page’s absence noticeable. Since phishing aims to replicate the real site as accurately as possible, providing this experience gap is a great way to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent sites.
    • If a phisher submitted an EV certificate by any chance, the green bar contains the company’s name. Because the phisher will not have a corporation with the same name and address as your favourite bank, merchant, brokerage, or other institution, the game will be obvious immediately away.
  • Fulfill Compliance Requirements: EV SSL certificates are required or recommended by some standards, such as PCI DSS, etc. In addition, many regulations, including HIPAA and others, require that organizations take all reasonable precautions to protect PII, PHI, and other sensitive data from theft. Using EV SSL certificates is an excellent approach to indicate that you have taken all possible precautions to protect this information.

Cons of using Extended Validation SSL Certificates

The following are the disadvantages of using EV certificates:

  • They are more costly.
  • They are often valid for a short period.
  • The efforts and time required to complete the validation procedure.

You may decide not to use EV certificates if you have many websites published on the Internet. But still, it would be better if you considered them for sites like your online store.
EV certificates are very dependent on the user. Leaving your security in the hands of the user is not a good idea. Every time a user visits a site, we should not expect them to validate the identification of the organization owner and the domain manually and correctly. For Extended Validation certificates to be effective, some technical restrictions should be enforced without relying on the user.

What is the Purpose of an Extended Validation SSL Certificate?

Regardless of the benefits of using EV certificates, EV certificates are not for everyone. Organizations must evaluate the added value of these certificates. They are perfect for high-profile websites that are frequently targeted by phishing attacks, such as major shops, banks, financial institutions, or government bodies with public-facing websites. All services that require higher identity assurance and enhanced confidence can use EV SSL Certificates. For example, high-profile websites, such as bank sites, financial institutions, etc., can use EV SSL Certificates, which are frequently targeted for phishing attacks, for their public-facing websites. As well as any website that collects data, processes logins, or accepts online payments can benefit from displaying their verified brand identity.

Is it worth to invest in a more expensive Extended Validation SSL certificate?

An EV SSL Certificate costs more than an Organization Validation (OV) or Domain Validation (DV) SSL Certificate because it is the most advanced and secure SSL Certificate available today. These SSL Certificates are slightly more expensive because they require a thorough verification by the CA, which takes time and resources. So, a question arises, is it worth spending on an EV SSL certificate? And the answer is:

If your company is developing and want to increase client confidence, it is worth investing in an EV SSL Certificate. While EV certificates are used for financial institutions and large organizations, they may be a viable option for a medium-sized business looking to boost client confidence and conversion rates.