SSL vs TLS: Know The Difference

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The sudden increase in online activity, due to the new social distancing norm arising from the Covid pandemic, calls for immediate attention to the safety of the sensitive data exchanged over the internet. There is already so much buzz around cybersecurity whether you are a small or big organization, an education institute with an online presence, an individual internet user. Everyone is at equal risk of data theft. If you are an online platform or website owner, there is every chance that you are aware of SSL Certificate security, but TLS Certificate is a term that is not very commonly used for securing your websites. So, what exactly do the SSL Certificate Providers mean when they talk about SSL/TLS Certificate security for your website, how are they similar or different from each other, or how is SSL/TLS Certificate Security able to provide security to the user’s data from cybercriminals, let us now try to explore.

When there is a data exchange between the user and web server over the internet, the risk of cyber-attack is especially high. Here the SSL/TLS Certificate plays an important role. The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Security and Transport Layer Security (TLS) provide encrypted and authenticated data transactions between the web servers, applications, systems, and users. This encryption protects crucial user data from unlawful access by cyber criminals and prevents its misuse. Moreover, investment in an SSL/TLS Certificate security from Cheap SSL Certificate Providers is a must for your website to occupy a top spot in the Google Search Engine Result Page, which in turn increases your chance of conversions and ensures growth in your business.

Difference between TLS and SSL?

As already discussed, both TLS and SSL Security protocols provide a secure path for data exchange between a web server and user. TLS is no different from SSL function-wise; it is an improved and latest version of SSL.

  • TLS is more efficient than SSL in performance and is more Secure.
  • TLS uses very strong cryptographic algorithms known as Hashing algorithms, which enables the highest degree of data security and is faster than all its SSL versions in establishing a shorter and faster handshake process between the user and the server. It overcomes various Security loopholes encountered in the earlier SSL protocols.
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To understand the development of SSL and TLS protocol, let us walk down the timeline of its various versions.

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Basic History Of SSL and TSL

In 1994, Netscape developed SSL to provide a secure path for information exchange between the web server and the user. Although SSL version 1 which was never released publicly due to had many security vulnerabilities but, this protocol was  slowly adopted as a standardized protocol by the Internet Engineering Task Force(IETF).

To eradicate various security issues, SSL Version 2.0 was publicly released in 1995. This version also had many flaws and was deprecated in the year 2011. So later, SSL Version 3.0 was released by Netscape in 1996. It improvised on a few security drawbacks of its previous version. The SSL v3.0 also saw some security vulnerability in 2004 due to the Poodle Attack.

The TLS v1.0 developed by IETF came as an upgrade to the SSL v3.0 and was released in the year 1999. Since then, three more TLS versions have been released, TLS v1.1 in 2006, TLS v1.2 in 2008, and the latest being TLS v1.3 in 2018.

All versions of SSL are deprecated by IETF, Netscape, web browsers, and operating systems due to many data security drawbacks and algorithm techniques used by it becoming obsolete. Regarding TLS, v1.0 and v1.1 were deprecated by Google, Apple, Mozilla, and Microsoft in March 2020 for similar reasons.

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How TLS/SSL protects User Data?

When you install a TLS/SSL Certificate on your web server, it is provided with a unique digital identification number or, in other words, a public and a private security key that is used for the authentication of the server. It also allows the server to encrypt as well as decrypt data exchanged between the client and the server.

  • When a user visits your website, the user web browser performs a process known as Handshake to look and check for the validity of the TLS/SSL Certificate of your website and authentication of your server.
  • Once the browser finds out that your TLS/SSL Certificate is valid and that your server is authenticated, then it establishes a safe encrypted path for information transfer between the web server and the user.
  • If the browser finds out that your TLS/SSL Certificate is not valid, your user will see an error message, “Your connection is not private,” which will cause your client to immediately leave your website.

So, it becomes imperative to keep your website always secure with valid TLS/SSL Certificate security to safeguard your reputation and win user trust.

Once TLS/SSL Certificate is installed on your server, the protocol changes from HTTP or the latest protocol HTTP/2 to HTTPS, with ‘S’ standing for Secured over TLS/SSL.

Why is the TLS Certificate Still Known as an SSL Certificate?

Although TLS Certificate is the upgraded version of SSL Certificate and all the versions of SSL have already been deprecated due to many data security shortcomings, certificates are known as SSL Certificates and not TLS Certificates. This is simply because major certificate providers continue to refer to these certificates as SSL Certificates as SSL is more widely recognized among internet users as a brand for data protection.

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Is it necessary to change SSL Certificate to TLS Certificate?

No, when an SSL Certificate is issued, it essentially means that it is a TLS/SSL Certificate. They are just the same, and an SSL Certificate provided to you supports the TLS protocol. To be able to use TLS, you need to control the protocol your web server uses. So, your web server configuration should support the latest TLS protocol in order to reap the benefit of the latest, faster, and more secure version of the TLS/SSL Certificate.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, we can say that both SSL and TLS certificates are one and the same thing, both being the protocol used to encrypt data exchange between the web server  and the user browser. TLS is the latest, modern, faster, and more secure version of SSL protocol to secure data for your websites. TLS Certificate is still more widely and commonly identified as SSL Certificate, and it should not be any cause of concern as all the versions of SSL have already been deprecated because of its data security lapses, and an SSL Certificate issued automatically supports TLS protocol. The most important requirement for the TLS protocol to be able to be used with the SSL/TLS Certificate issued to the website from SSL Certificate Providers is that your web server should be configured to support the new versions of TLS Certificates. If you are looking for the strongest degree of data security and best encryption for your website, then TLS Certificate is most certainly the answer to all your security needs. Now, with a complete insight into all aspects of TLS/SSL Certificate Security, you should be ready to invest to secure the highest security for your website today!

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