SSL / TLS | An Ultimate Guide to Secure Networking

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Website security is one of the major concerns for online businesses. The security is the most critical aspect for any business to ensure data and resources protection. When it comes to online security, the first thing that most possibility comes to your mind is TLS and SSL because both of them are cryptographic protocols offers end-to-end communication security in a network. In this article, I would discuss both security protocols and how you can use them to make your data more protected and secure. TLS and SSL can help you in the secure transmission of data using encryption. These are basically the certificates that you can insert on your site to create encrypted connections between web servers and browsers.

The TLS is a new version of SSL and it is often used interchangeably when mentioning either certificate. Once you install the certificate on your site, you can set up the TLS or SSL. These protocols ensure the security of your website and protect the data against intruders on networks. Here, we are going to discuss these two certificates and now, you can have a better understanding of how TLS and SSL can help you in managing the security of your website.

Major Difference Between SSL / TLS

The core purpose of both certificates is to make your website data transmission and communication over the network more secure and protected. There are some differences between TLS and SSL.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)

The SSL is an older security certificate compared with the TLS. One of the best things about this certificate is that they can use for SSL as well as TLS encryption. This is the reason why this certificate is also known as SSL/TLS certificates. The use of this certificate for the protection of data transmission is started from the 1990s.  It is used by the browsers to make sure that the data that you send is safe and they ensure the secure communications between the networks.

When you look at the upper left corner of your website, you might see a lock sign with green “secure” written with it. it is an indicator of safe data transmission. On the other side, if the lock is red, then it is a warning that your connection is encrypted and your data is not more secure. The comodo SSL certificate, digitalocean letsencrypt, nginx SSL certificate, letsencrypt nginx, wildcard SSL certificate, smtp SSL are one of the best SSL certificates available in the market.

TLS (Transport Layer Security)

This is also a security certificate that provides data integrity authentication and privacy while data transmission. This is the most commonly used TLS security protocols by the web applications that need data to be replaced securely over a network, for example, file transfers, web browsing sessions, voice over IP, VPN connections, and remote desktop sessions. TLS enables privacy, integrity and protection for data transmitted between the internet.

 TLS is an efficient protocol that offers key material generation, message authentication and the supported cipher collections, with TLS supporting secure algorithms. There are three major components of TLS that are Authentication, Encryption, and Integrity. The working of these components is discussed in the “SSL TLS Encryption Working” a section below.

Major Benefits of SSL / TLS

Following are some of the major benefits of both TLS and SSL certificates.

Improves Security

Both protocols allow the transmission of information over the network of client and server through the encryption method.  By using this method, TLS and SSL prevent any unauthorized person to listen to your communication or access your data that you are sending over a network. The use of this protocol is very important to ensure the security of your data especially if you are dealing in more confidential information, for example, if you are sharing your credit card information with someone over a network, there are chances that someone gains access to your data sent through the network. The TLS and SSL allow safe data transmission to ensure more security.

Instills Trust

As we know that everyone, whether it is a user or the website owner, is conscious about their security and safety when doing online activities. The people are now more likely to trust the websites that are using SSL TLS connection. So, you are likely to get more website traffic if you are using these certificates. If you are offering login option to user or want some credit card information to selling something then security should be your first priority.

Ability to use HTTP/2

The HTTP/2 is an updated version of HTTP. There are many improvements made in the new version, for example, it is fully multiplexed, one connection for parallelism, header using compression, etc. so, now have an opportunity to use HTTP/2 through SSL or TLS certificates.

Easily Deployed

Usually, SSL certificates are bought from an authority for a specified period of time. When you are using this certificate on a website, that will upload certificate to your server and therefore offer a secure visitors’ connection. However, Let’s Encrypt SSL is a certificate for free SSL that can be directly deployed from the server. KeyCDN provides an integration for the Let’s Encrypt to protect the connection from edge servers to site users.

Types of SSL/TLS Certificates

The SSL protocol which is short for (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS protocol (Transport Layer Security) comprises of an effective security measure termed as the digital certificates. By utilizing this sort of mechanism, the public key is able to be signed by some other party. These certificates may also consist of identity info relating to the public key’s owner. TLS prevents intruders from listening to communications with your server. Both these SSL/TLS Certificates are available in various flavours. On the basis of the technical perspective, these certificates can be divided into three categories depending solely upon the domains to which they apply.

Single-Domain

Well, this sort of certificate is applicable to just one hostname FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) or a subdomain. Taking an example, you might attain a security certificate for the website such as my.example.com or www.example.com. Although, this mail.example.com is not involved within the scope of the relevant certificate. The certificate that you attain will remain valid to the hostname that you might have specified during the process of registration.

Wildcard

Unlike the single domain, this certificate applies to a whole domain along with its subdomains. Taking as an example, if have registered *.example.com, the certificate would be applicable tosecret.example.com, mail.example.com, admin.example.com and all of your subdomains. It allows you to host each of the subdomains on multiple servers and utilize the similar SSL/TLS wildcard certificate on various servers for as long as a domain name is the same.

Multi-Domain

It is the certificate which is applicable to different kinds of domain names.  As each of this domain name might be a single wildcard or a domain. Normally, when you tend to attain this kind of a certificate, you hold the access to alter the domain name wherever and whenever you want to. This kind of security certificate is also termed as the Subject Alternative Name (SAN) certificate.

SSL TLS Encryption Working

For secure SSL TLS connection establishment, you have to follow a step by step procedure. To determine the working of SSL/TLS connections, the outlines for the high-level handshake process using an RSA key is as follow.

Client Hi. The client sends a message to the servers with a set of choices to the server concerning the communication over SSL (cipher settings, version number, etc).

Server Hi. The server selects one of the options provided by the client and send it back to the client.

Key Exchange Server. The server transmits some data to the client concerning the public key and also a session key.

Key Exchange Client. The client verifies the certificate of the server and approves the selected encryption algorithm of the server.

Secure Communications Happens. Both the server and client approve that all of the following communications will be encrypted.

The above mentioned is the example of how encryption happens over a network and how encryption ensures the security of data over the network. Many TLS and SSL connections are still using RSA keys. Though, elliptic curve cryptography is getting traction as a substitute to RSA because of its aptitude to offer the same security level at a smaller size.

SSL/TLS Certificate Validation

The SSL/TLS certificates are also categorized on the basis of identity validation. More identity SSL validation means the more trusted this security certificate is, although more time is required in order to acquire it. SSL certificate major function is to protect server-client communication.

Domain Validation

The domain validation certificate works to validate that the person applying for a security certificate owns a domain name or at least possess any access to it. This category of validation does not require much time you can say it takes a few minutes up to a few hours

Organization Validation

Well, the Certification Authority (CA) is not only responsible for validating domain ownership but the owner’s identity. Such validation may take several days.

Review of SSL and TLS Versions

There are many versions of both SSL and TLS available and you can use any one of them depending on your online security needs. It is recommended to choose the most recent version of the certificate because every new version comes up with new improvement in the previous one.

Here are some of the versions of SSL and TLS that you can use for the security needs of your website.

SSL

Following are some of the versions of SSL:

  • SSLv1
  • SSLv2
  • SSLv3

In the case of SSL, each new version is made to improve the previous version and, in some case, the latest version overcomes the shortcomings and problems of the previous version. The SSL3 is the most recent version that is used by most online businesses, it is released in 2015. The first two version this certificate can fulfil the basic security needs of your website and it will be enough for a small website data security. You can buy SSL certificate latest version and it is most recommended because it is the most flawless and advanced version that surely provide better security needs.

TLS

Some of the encryptions of the TLS are as follow:

  • TLS v1.0
  • TLS v1.1
  • TLS v1.2
  • TLS v1.3

Some like the SSL, the newest version of the TLS overcomes the flaws of previous versions. The TLS v1.3 is the most recent and latest version. This new version has better encoding and secure than the previous one. The businesses use all of the above versions of TLS depending on their security needs. For example, if you are a small business with basic informational website then the first version of TLS v1.0  will be enough for you to main security, one the other side, if you are working with a large website or businesses with growth model then the latest version would be best for you.

Conclusion

 In this article, I have discussed the basic working, functionalities, types and benefits of the TLS and SSL. These are fundamentally the certificates that you can add on your website to create encrypted networks between web servers and browsers. These certificates ensure your website security and protect the data against hackers and attackers on networks. The SSL is used by the browsers to ensure that the information that you send is secure and they ensure the safe communications between the networks.

There are 3 main components of TLS that are Authentication, Encryption, and Integrity. These protocols are very important to ensure the security of your information especially if you are dealing in more private data. There are numerous advances made in the new version for instance header using compression, fully multiplexed, one connection for parallelism, etc. On the technical perspective, these certificates can be divided into 3 categories based on the domains to which they apply. It is suggested to select the most recent certificate because every new version comes up with more improvement in the previous one of the certificates.

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James William

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Comments

2 Comments on “SSL / TLS | An Ultimate Guide to Secure Networking”

  1. SSL and TLS are protocols that were developed primarily to protect web transactions, but they can be used to protect any type of network traffic that utilizes TCP at the transport layer.

  2. Avatar ogyoutube says:

    Nowadays every website needs SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and it was very helpful for protect to the website. Thank you for your wonderful info.

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