About Secure SubmissionHow does secure submission work?
When we say your data is being "submitted securely" we mean we're using SSL-encryption, an industry standard protocol for safely exchanging information. The important part here is that your information is encrypted so that only your computer and the Motley Fool can see or understand it.
That's great, but what exactly is SSL-encryption?
That's a very good question. Our security Fools like to describe how SSL-encryption secures your data using the following analogy:
Imagine you are passing a note from the back row of a full auditorium to your friend in the front row. You send it on its way and hope no one between you and your friend decides to open your note and read the message. This is very similar to the way most information travels on the Internet. Now imagine placing your note in a locked case, that only you and your friend have keys for, and passing this case to your friend. No one can open the case and read your note except you and your friend. SSL-encryption is the electronic equivalent of a locked case and only your computer and the Motley Fool have the keys.For those of you interested, a somewhat more technical explanation can be found at Netscape (the creators of the SSL protocol).
OK, but my browser says the page may not be secure. What's the deal?
SSL-encryption comes with some costs. A common "cost" is that secure pages load more slowly. To minimize the effect on performance, we do not use SSL-encryption on the pages we send to you that do not contain sensitive information (like your password). We only secure the sensitive data that you send to us. Our web servers start using SSL-encryption when you click on the Secure Submission button.
Although this is a perfectly safe and secure method used by many sites (for example Yahoo and MSN), it does have a few confusing side effects you may encounter.
- Your browser will not identify the page as secure because the pages we send you are not encrypted
- When you submit your data to us, your browser will detect you are about to send data using SSL-encryption from a page it does not consider secure. Depending on your browser configuration, you may see a warning message.
- When you are finished sending us your data and we start sending you web pages, your browser will detect that you are no longer using SSL-encryption. Depending on your browser configuration, you may see a warning message.
Security is a top priority at the Motley Fool. We have a team of Fools dedicated to securing all of our systems and information. If you'd like to ask them a question, they'd be happy to hear from you. Just drop a line to SecuritySam@Fool.com or swing by the Internet Security Issues message board. They'll do their best to address your concerns and answer your questions.