SSL vs. TLS: Which Provides the Best Protection?

2015-05-17 18:50 Posted by: King in SSL, Tutorials Go to Comment

SSL vs. TLS: Which Provides the Best Protection?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are two of the major security protocols, providing authentication and encryption for various applications, especially among the ones where the data would travel over the insecure networks like the Internet. Yes! These terms are often interchanged and one of them is the successor of the other. Do you know that SSL 3.0 had laid the first foundation for the initial version of the TLS? This is why sometimes it is called as the SSL 3.1.  In this article, we will have a closer look at the protocols to see which one is better than the other.

Differences and Similarities

Both the TLS and SLS are different in many ways. And the interesting aspect is they are quite inoperable with each other. But the interesting aspect is both of them are equal in terms of the security which is provided. For instance, both of the protocols would always ensure that the data of the user is protected using a reliable encryption. So whenever you are surfing the Internet, you can feel safe and satisfied.

These protocols even try to make sure whether the server you are communicating is one which you want to contact and not the common middlemen who constantly eavesdrop and keep track of your transactions. Now one thing that you would have to keep in mind is that any of the servers with the TLS or SSL installed have to be equipped with the certificates issued from the third party Certificate Authority (CA) like VeriSign or Thawte.

Now the third party Certificate Authority does the certificates that are issued. They would first check whether the website simply belongs to the actual domain name of the owner and it is his server itself. So, the main difference among the two given protocols is the SSL connection would start by applying the security and then it would proceed towards a secured communication.

But the TLS connection never does that. With regard to the TLS, it first begins with a hello (insecure) to the given server. After that once there is a successful handshake between the server and client, and then it would proceed to a secure communication. If for any reason the handshake fails, the TLS will not opt for any kind of connection. Despite such kind of difference both the TLS and SSL is a fine option for providing extensive amount of security. One thing is sure; you can never go wrong with them.

Advantages of TLS

There are various reasons to select TLS over the SSL and the most important one is how it gets developed. The TLS is nothing but a protocol which is based on community standards (open), making it better and more extensible. It is even best suitable for supporting in the future. Now unique advantages of the TLS are it is backward compatible. So, this means it can be used for securing the connection of the client side which supports the SSL. Furthermore, another best benefit is the TLS allows insecure and secure connections over a given single port. But with regard to the SSL, it designates a single port for providing the secure connection. Now this factor still does not make more or either less secure when compared to the other ones.

With regard to the TLS or SSL, you would need to keep in mind that if you are not using either one of them, then the on-going communication between another server and you would become a party line for most of the cyber crimes and eavesdroppers. What happens is the data which is present in the email, financial transactions, and login screens would be delivered among the online in the plain text for various users to see.

Basically, there would be no means to find out whether the server gets connected or whether it is valid and not simply to see how the middle man or interloper set up for the given fall. So, it would be wise enough if one adopts either of the given protocols for having a private communication.

Enhancement of TLS to SSL

Enhancing the TLS to SSL will require you to update the Message Authentication Codes migrated from hash keyed algorithm to SSL algorithm. Such type of migration results in more functional yet secured security arrangements with better amount of integrity checks that are hard to break. Ordinarily SSL is more preferred over the TLS only for the number of integrity checks and their tolerances to break. When TLS are enhanced to SSL; the result is far better than the SSL integrity itself. So, shall you always go for TLS at first and then migrate to SSL? Certainly no, because whenever you go for such algorithmic migration it can also cause bits of user experience compromise. Instead of this people prefer having 128 bit SSL.

In addition, the TLS is quite standardized in the RFC 2246 and there are various new alert messages which are added. Another extensive feature is that in the TLS it is not always required to have the certificates included all the way to root the CA. The TLS even specifies the padding block values which would be often used for and as block cipher algorithm. The RC4 is commonly used in the Microsoft and is a streaming cipher making this modification not so relevant.

The Fortezza algorithm should not be included in the TLS RFC; as such things are not open for the review of the public. Of course, there might be a minor differences existing in some of the message fields.

Common Scenarios present in TLS and SSL

Many individuals think of the SSL and TLS as simple protocols which are used along with most of the web browsers, making it easy to browse the Internet in a secure manner. But they are quite similar to general protocols when there are authentication and data protection present.  Some of the common examples where you could use the SSL and TLS are the remote access, SSL-secured transaction along with the E-Commerce web site, SQL access, Email, and authenticated access of the client for an SSL secured website.

Frankly, when comparing the SSL and TLS, both are unique and have got extensive features. Finding out which is better among the two depends on the kind of security and how the given security can be advantageous for your E-Commerce website.

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