What is the difference between TLS and SSL?

You often see news stories about major data breaches, and you may start thinking about how your information is protected when you go online. When you visit a website and start shopping there, enter your credit card number, and expect to receive your package in a few days, have you ever thought about how online security works?

What is the difference between TLS and SSL
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The Basics of Network Security

In its most basic form, Internet security is accomplished through a series of requests and responses between a computer and a website. When you enter a web address into your browser, the browser asks the website to verify its authenticity, the website responds with the appropriate information, and then the webpage opens in the web browser after both parties agree.

The questions requested and the information exchanged are about the types of encryption used to transfer data, computer information and personal information between browsers and Web sites. These requests and responses are called Handshakes, and if a Handshake does not occur, then the site you intend to visit is considered insecure.

Difference between HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP

  • The entire process is open to anyone.
  • It is easier to set up and operate.
  • There is no security for passwords and outgoing data.

HTTPS

  • Fully encrypted to hide information.
  • Requires additional server configuration.
  • Protects transmitted information, including passwords.

One thing you may notice when you visit a website is that some URLs are http-prefixed and some are https-prefixed. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol; it is a network transmission protocol that specifies secure transmission over the Internet.

Some websites, especially those where you will be asked to provide sensitive or personally identifiable information, may display https in green or red with an underline, where green means the site has verifiable security credentials and red with an underline means the site does not have security credentials or the credentials are incorrect or expired.

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There is some confusion here: HTTP does not mean that the data transmission between the computer and the site is encrypted, it only means that the site is transmitted with a browser that contains active security authentication. Only when S is included (like HTTPS) does it mean that the data is transmitted securely, and there is another technology in use that allows this security to be implemented.

Difference between SSL and TLS

SSL

  • Originally developed in 1995.
  • It was an earlier level of encryption for web pages.
  • Relatively backward in the fast growing web.

TLS

  • Started with the third version of SSL.
  • That is, Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • Continued improvements to encryption using SSL.
  • New types of attacks and security vulnerabilities continue to be added.

SSL is the initial security protocol to ensure that web site data is secure between transmissions. According to GlobalSign, SSL was introduced in 1995 with version 2.0. The first version, 1.0, was never made public, and version 2.0 was replaced a year later by version 3.0 to strengthen weaknesses in the protocol.

In 1999, another version of SSL, called Transport Layer Security (TLS), was introduced to improve transmission speed and security; TLS is the version currently in use and is often referred to as SSL for simplicity’s sake.

Understanding the SSL Protocol

Benefits

  • Hides information between the computer and the website.
  • Protects login information.
  • Ensures online shopping security.

Disadvantages

  • Cannot eliminate all threats.
  • Does not protect on sites that do not use SSL.
  • Can’t hide which sites you visit.

When you consider sharing data with someone, that means a second party is involved. Online security works much the same way. For a data transfer to be secure online, there must be a second party involved. If HTTPS is the protocol that web browsers use to ensure security, the remaining half of Handshake is the protocol that ensures encryption.

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Encryption is a technique used to distinguish between two devices transferring data over a network. It is done by converting recognizable characters into unrecognizable random code, which can be converted back to the original text using an encryption key. This is initially done through a protocol called Transport Layer Security (SSL).

SSL is a technology that converts data between any website and browser into random code and back again. Here’s how it works.

  • After opening your browser, you enter your bank address.
  • The web browser knocks on the bank’s door and introduces you to the bank.
  • The janitor verifies that you are who you say you are and agrees to let you in under certain conditions.
  • The web browser agrees to these conditions, and you are then granted access to the bank’s website.

This process is repeated when you enter your username and password, plus a few additional steps.

  • You enter your username and password to gain access to your account.
  • Your web browser tells the bank’s account manager that you want access to your account.
  • After a conversation, they agree that if you can provide the correct credentials, then you can get access. However, these credentials must be presented in a special language.
  • The web browser and the bank account manager agree on the language to be used next.
  • The web browser converts your username and password into that special language and sends it to the bank’s account manager.
  • The account manager receives the information, decodes it, and compares it to their records.
  • If your credentials match, you will be able to access your account.
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The whole process happens in nanoseconds (billionths of a second), so you won’t notice the time it takes for a conversation and handshake to occur between the web browser and the website.

TLS Encryption

Benefits

  • More secure encryption.
  • Hiding data between computers and websites.
  • Better handshake process in protocol encrypted communication.

Disadvantages

  • No absolutely perfect encryption.
  • Does not actively encrypt DNS.
  • Not fully compatible with older versions.

TLS encryption was introduced to improve data security, SSL used to be a good technology, but security is changing at a rapid rate, which has led to the need for better, more up-to-date security.

Which TLS version is the latest?

TLS encryption continues to evolve with SSL. The current TLS version is 1.2, but TLS version 1.3 is in its initial stages and some companies and browsers have been using this security protocol for some time. In most cases, they will fall back on TLS 1.2 because version 1.3 is still not perfect.

When TLS 1.3 is complete, it will bring a number of security improvements, including improved support for newer types of encryption. However, TLS 1.3 will also remove support for older versions of SSL protocols and other security technologies that are no longer robust enough to ensure proper security and encryption of personal data.

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