Do you know how SSL vs TLS differs? Let’s see how well you know about the difference between SSL and TLS, and which is more secure?
One of the primary security measures for any business is to ensure that information exchanged between two parties is safe from attacks from outside. Both SSL and TLS protocols are designed to safeguard sensitive data that is used during transactions like payment processing that require authentication to confirm that the identity of the server is authentic to the user. Over the past few years, SSL and TLS protocols have been instrumental in ensuring security and encryption on a variety of websites, including eCommerce websites.
One area of confusion for a lot of people is the difference between SSL and TLS certificates. It’s a common confusion, particularly when you consider that SSL certificates are actually created making use of TLS protocol. What exactly does that mean?
This article will help you find out what SSL vs TLS are, what’s difference between SSL and TLS, and what “SSL certificate” really means “TLS certificate”.
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and, in simple terms, it’s a digital cryptographic technology that keeps your internet connection safe and secures any sensitive information being transmitted between two systems. It also prevents hackers from gaining access to and altering the information that is transferred, which includes potentially personal information. The two systems could be a server and either a client or server-to-server (for example applications that contain personal information, such as payment information).
SSL was initially created in the mid-1990s. Since then, three versions of SSL were launched: SSL 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 as the need for more security across the internet was apparent. As the ever-growing users began to access the World Wide Web, so did financial institutions and businesses. This led to was a rising demand for secure connections that could protect sensitive information from being stolen by malicious third-party hackers. The truth is, TLS is merely an upgraded version of SSL but with SSL Version 3.0 the protocol helped to boost the growth of online transactions and e-commerce which would not have been possible without encryption.
The secure connection between the web browser and the server is used for various communications such as credit card transactions secure websites, data transfers and many others. The most frequent use in SSL certificates that people see frequently can be seen in the protocol for transfer HTTP. If you visit a website beginning with HTTPS this means that the website is protected through using an SSL certificate. Without an SSL certificate, HTTP is unsecured.
HTTPS is displayed in the URL of a website that is protected by the SSL certificate. The certificate’s details and the authority issuing it, and the name of the company that is the owner of the site is accessible when you click on the lock symbol in the bar of your browser.
What is TLS?
TLS stands for “Transport Layer Security”, which is a cryptographic standard that was launched in 1999, originally created by the IETF. TLS certificates are an improved version of SSL certificates. It is the successor of the SSL protocol. It is able to perform the same function the same way as SSL certificates, however, it is improved security and an up-to-date version. It is designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of the information that is sent. It establishes a secure connection to two people, confirms their identity with public-key cryptography, and block the stealing of information by external attackers.
The most popular use for TLS is to ensure the security of sessions between the Web browser and a Web server. It is used to encrypt the data and ensure that the information transmitted isn’t accessible to hackers. The most popular applications that use TLS contain instant message websites, web browsers, instant messaging, and VoIP. TLS protects the application layer protocols such as HTTP, FTP, SMTP and IMAP. Open TLS standard has been updated numerous times, including with TLS 1.3.
SSL vs TLS
Let’s take a look at TLS vs SSL protocols in-depth and find out about the major differences.
Difference Between SSL and TLS Encryption
When people discuss SSL/TLS certificates, they’re talking of X.509 digital certificates that allow sites to serve through HTTPS (using SSL, which is the security TLS protocol above the insecure HTTP connection) via public-key encryption. The two protocols TLS and SSL are cryptographic protocols that are used to secure information. Therefore do SSL and TLS the same thing? Not entirely. If they’re different, therefore why are these terms being used in a way that isn’t?
Without going into too much detail What’s difference between SSL and TLS is the way they create secure connections. Both of them use an operation called “the handshake”, which is the method by which the client and server verify each other prior to making secure connections.
For instance, if you’re processing credit card transactions on your site, TLS and SSL can serve in the secure processing of this data in a way that bad criminals aren’t able to get on the information. It is important to note that the SSL handshake is different from the TLS handshake.
The main reason they’re different is that TLS is described as the successor of SSL protocol. What is this meaning? When you compare SSL vs TLS, The SSL and TLS protocols differ in their functionality, including the authentication for messages, warning messages, record protocols and encryption strengths. They are different in particular in terms of handshake processes.
So what’s the difference between SSL vs TLS?
in fact, TLS is an upgraded version of SSL. It has fixed security issues that were present in the older SSL protocols.
The initial SSL version SSL was designed in 1994 by Netscape but was not officially released due to the possibility of exploiting security vulnerabilities. In terms of knowing about TLS, it was initially created by IETF Development as an upgrade of SSL 3.0. It was first released in 1999 and replaced in 2006 with TLS 1.1 that added security for CBC (Cipher Block Chaining).
Later versions of TLS — v1.1, v1.2 and 1.3 are considerably more secure and fixed several vulnerabilities with SSL v3.0 as well as TLS v1.0. The more recent TLS versions, when properly configured, will prevent attacks and have more secure encryption methods and ciphers.
SSL vs TLS: Key Difference (Comparison Table)
|Figure||SSL (Secure Socket Layer)||TLS (Transport Layer Security).|
|Invent||Developed in 1995 by Netscape||Launched in 1999 by the IETF (The Internet Engineering Task Force)|
|Protocol||SSL is a cryptographic technology that makes use of explicit connections to secure communications between the web server and the client||TLS is also described as a cryptographic technology that allows secure communications between the server and the client through implicit connections. It’s the successor of the SSL protocol.|
|Versions||There are three versions of SSL that have been released: SSL 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.||There are four versions of TLS are available: TLS 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3|
|Issues||In all versions, SSL was found to be insecure and have been removed from the market.||TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are deprecated in March 2020. The TLS version 1.2 is currently the commonly used protocol.|
|Cipher suites||Supports the Fortezza cipher suite||Supports the standardization procedure, that makes it easy to adopt encryption suites such as Triple-DES and IDEA, RC4, IDEA, and others|
|Alert Messages||“No certificate” alert message.||Alert messages differ based on the situation.|
|Message Authentication||SSL uses MAC (Message Authentication Code) for each encryption message||TLS uses HMAC (Hashed Message Security Code) to secure messages|
|Handshake process||The calculation of hash is included of a master secret and the pad.||Hashes are calculated using handshake messages.|
|Browser||Not supported by modern browsers.||Most of the modern browsers support TLS|
Which Is More Secure SSL vs TLS?
TLS is a more reliable message authentication system, as well as key material generation, and other encryption techniques when it comes to SSL. The TLS protocol is based on two layers in which there is a TLS record protocol that gives protection to connections. It is the TLS handshake protocol that connects the server and client for key negotiation, security which is not compatible with SSL. The server and the client are authenticated prior to any data transfer. TLS remains a backwards-compatible option with older devices.
Survey of SSL vs TLS Versions
- SSL 1.0: Not released publicly due to security issues.
- SSL 2.0: The first time it was released publically in 1995. Deprecated in 2011. Due to still problematic security issues.
- SSL 3.0: In 1996, the software was released to fix many bugs. However, it was deprecated in 2015 because of attacks like POODLE or DROWN vulnerabilities.
- TLS 1.0: It was released in 1999 as the upgrade of SSL 3.0. It is planned to be deprecated in 2020.
- TLS 1.1: It was released in 2006 as an update of TLS 1.0. It provided the ability to protect from CBC attacks. It is planned to be deprecated in 2020.
- TLS 1.3: In 2008, a new version was released that allows the formulation of hash and algorithm.
- TLS 1.3: Released in August 2018
History: SSL vs TLS
The first version of SSL version 1.0 was created around 1995, by Netscape to establish a secure connection between the browser and the webserver to which it connects. The software was not released to the public since it was widely criticized for its insecure crypto algorithms. The first release to the public was SSL 2.0 in 1995 but hackers quickly discovered ways to exploit the security flaws. After a few years, SSL 3.0 replaced version 2.0. SSL 3.0 came with a brand new type of record along with the latest data encoding technology. The version in this released was much more reliable and thought to be more secure for the duration of 8 years. Again, it had serious security vulnerabilities.
From 1986 to 1995, several groups have studied the issue of securing confidential information across the Internet. There are various techniques being proposed However, the majority of Internet traffic is still transmitted in plain text.
In 1999, TLS 1.0 was developed based on SSL and became an open standard and the standard for the security of online e-commerce and other important transactions. TLS 1.0 was extremely like SSL 3.0 and in fact, it was built on it, but distinct enough to warrant an upgrade prior to the time SSL 3.0 could be implemented.
The downgrade to SSL 3.0 is still risky in the sense that it had a vulnerability that is known and exploitable. All an attacker had to do to attack an online site was to downgrade from SSL 2.0 in order to SSL 3.0. This is the reason for downgrade attacks. This was the final point of no return to TLS 1.0.
Seven years later, TLS 1.1 was the upgraded version of TLS was released. It included important improvements, including a shield against chaining ciphers, and assistance for Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. TLS 1.1 was replaced by TLS 1.2 at the end of 2008. This slowed TLS 1.1 adoption, as a number of websites just upgraded the version from 1.0 and then to TLS 1.2. Now, we are at TLS 1.3, which was approved in the year 2018 and is loaded with features that are more advanced than the previous versions.
In the end, the TLS 1.0 and 1.1 were deemed to be vulnerable and scheduled to depreciate in 2020. TLS 1.3 makes significant improvements over its predecessors, and currently, major players on the web push for widespread adoption. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Mozilla, and Cloudflare all have announced plans to eliminate TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in January 2020, which will make the TLS 1.2 as well as TLS 1.3 the only options on the market.
How to Check Which TLS/SSL Protocol is Enabled?
If you’re unsure whether a website server is using an outdated version of TLS/SSL It is easy to check using a web browser on the internet.
Right-click on the blank portion of a website and then click “Inspect” (using Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge) or click “View Page Info” (using Firefox). In this window click on the “Security” tab, you will see an overview of the site’s digital certificate.
Otherwise, you can use an online TLS/SSL checker tool.
As you’ve learned in this article about the difference between SSL and TLS, TLS is just a spin abbreviation of a less secured SSL protocol. Although it is true that the SSL protocol and TLS protocol aren’t identical, SSL certificates and TLS certificates refer to similar things. They basically perform the same services of delivering websites via HTTPS to safeguard from cybercrime, privacy online, malware, phishing, DDoS attacks, and other attacks.
Although there are still a lot of websites that are using SSL. however, if you want to comply with the latest security guidelines, you must change your site using TLS 1.2 or 1.3. Not just TLS 1.2 or 1.3 help make websites more secure, but in an addition to they also improve the speed and performance.