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  1. #1
    Pacopag is offline Member
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    Default How are clients able to decrypt ssl packets

    Hi. I'm pretty new to network programming and I have a question. This is not really Java-specific, but I thought I'd ask here.

    When a client, say a browser, requests a secure socket from a server (e.g. you just visit some page with https), the transmissions are encrypted. SSL uses public/private key for encrypting and decrypting the data.

    What I don't understand is how the client is able to do anything with the data it receives from the server. How is the client able to decrypt the data the server sends it and do something useful (e.g. render a web page that was requested with https)?

  2. #2
    gimbal2 is offline Just a guy
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    Default Re: How are clients able to decrypt ssl packets

    I don't get the question. SSL is an open algorithm with dozens of implementations to do the encryption and decryption. What's so mysterious about that? Pick your favorite library (which the designers of the browsers have also done) and utilize it to do the encryption/decryption. The end result of decryption is the data that you can use, such as the HTML which can be rendered by the browser.

    Transport Layer Security - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    "Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon." -- Alan Perlis

  3. #3
    Pacopag is offline Member
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    Default Re: How are clients able to decrypt ssl packets

    I don't really get the question either. I don't know exactly how SSL works. If anyone can take SSL-encrypted data and decrypt it using an open algorithm, then what's the point of using it? I thought there was some kind of public/private key pair that was needed to do the encryption/decryption.

    Are there any ready-made packages that let you feed it an SSL-encrypted string of bytes, pick an implementation (can you give me some examples of implementations?), and it spits out the decrypted string?

    What I'd like to do is to catch the packets sent from my application to the server (and those from the server to my application) and decrypt them so that I can debug the application.

    I figure there's gotta be a way, because browsers can decrypt page data that was sent to them from servers via https.
    Last edited by Pacopag; 08-01-2013 at 11:14 PM.

  4. #4
    gimbal2 is offline Just a guy
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    Default Re: How are clients able to decrypt ssl packets

    If anyone can take SSL-encrypted data and decrypt it using an open algorithm, then what's the point of using it?
    Perhaps you're just mistaken?

    I thought there was some kind of public/private key pair that was needed to do the encryption/decryption.
    Perhaps there is? I never said there weren't any.

    Apparently the wiki was not enough or you did not bother to read it, so lets find a simpler one for you.

    Google: "how does SSL work"
    result: certificates - How does SSL work? - IT Security Stack Exchange

    Please, read it and be informed in stead of guessing.
    "Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon." -- Alan Perlis

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