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A Brief on SSL and TLS Protection Protocols

You want to secure your website and everything. But what is better? TLS or SSL or Both.


A Brief on SSL and TLS Protection Protocols
Published By - Kelsey Taylor

SSL and TLS are similar in many ways. You must have noticed they are configured together as “SSL/TLS” in most of the software applications. You want to secure your website and everything. But what is better? TLS or SSL or Both.

Transport Layer Security and Secure Sockets Layer; both are cryptographic protocols that offer authentication and data-in-motion encryption between servers, machines and applications running over a network. The 1st of TLS (TLS v 1.0) and the last of SSL, i.e., SSL v 3.0 are the closest to each other.

TLS uses stronger encryption algorithms and can work on different ports. The SSL1 was never let out publicly as it was broken pretty quickly and had cryptographic flaws. After SSL2, SSL3 came out and was termed as TLS.

“The War”

TLSv1.0 is the 1st Transport Layer Security version which is an upgrade of SSLv3. Netscape is the developer of the SSL protocol. The Browser war started with the Microsoft and Netscape rivalry and competitiveness. Consequently, Microsoft revised the SSL version 2 and did some of its additions to it. They thereby, they let out a protocol called “Private Communications Technology” or PCT. It was to compel Netscape into handing over the control of the SSL protocol to an open standards body.

Nevertheless, PCT was only supported in IIS and IE. Only one version came out and has been disabled since the IE 5. Although, it’s still present in IIS and the Windows operating system libraries. Even though in Windows Server 2003 by default it’s disabled. Not much attention was given to TLS and has since been superseded by SSL version 3 of Netscape and TLS.

Netscape and Microsoft representatives negotiated a deal where both of them would back the Internet Engineering Task Force to take over the protocol & standardising it in an open process.

As a result, they made some changes (evidently to justify the renaming, entry of IETF, et cetera) to the SSL version 3.0 protocol and called it the TLS 1.0.

So the bottom line is that TLS is the predecessor of Secure Sockets Layer. Furthermore, if the deal never happened between those two, the TLS v 1.0 would have been called the SSL v3.1 and so forth. Notably, the term SSL is still in use in regards to the security certificates as it’s a more commonly known term. But in reality, if you are buying any new SSL update, you are in actuality getting the up to date TLS certificates.

The latest standard version that is out and rolling is TLSv1.2, while the upcoming TLS v1.3 is still in draft stage. SSLv2 and SSLv3 have protocol weaknesses and are insecure, so they are generally by default disabled. It is hence, recommended to run the TLS 1.0, 1.1., or version 1.2 and are enabled by default on all major web browsers.


You May Also Like to Read:

The Future of Open Source Software
Why HTTPS Is Important for the Future of Your Website?
Your Quick Reference Guide to HTTPS Everywhere

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