In today’s digital age, secure web communications are more important than ever. Cyber-attacks are on the rise, and sensitive data is being transmitted over the internet every second. This is where TLS (Transport Layer Security) technology comes in.
The following is a comprehensive overview of TLS technology, including its latest trends and how it evolves to keep up with changing security threats. Whether you’re a website owner, a network administrator, a security professional or just interested in online security, the following is for you.
What are SSL and TLS and why are they needed?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS are protocols that provide secure communication over the internet by encrypting data and ensuring its confidentiality and integrity. They also provide authentication to ensure users are communicating with the intended website. SSL and TLS are essential for protecting sensitive information and maintaining the privacy and security of online transactions.
Per Google, 94% of their traffic is encrypted. They state “Our goal is to achieve 100% encryption across our product and services.” This means that most of the applications, websites and services you are familiar with are encrypted and use at least one encrypted protocol.
Encrypted traffic across Google:
Why TLS is better than SSL
For securing communication over the internet, TLS is considered the better technology when compared to SSL. TLS provides stronger encryption, improved authentication and better handling of connection issues. It is widely supported by browsers, operating systems and web servers. For these reasons, it is recommended that TLS be used to secure sensitive information and maintain the privacy and security of online transactions.
According to SSL Pulse1, the best practice is to use TLS v1.2 at a minimum as your main protocol and TLS v1.3 if it is supported on your server platform. Doing so means clients supporting newer protocols will select TLS v1.3; those that don’t will use TLS v1.2.
Out of 135,296 sites surveyed in February, 2023, 60.4% of the sites support TLS v1.3 (+0.6% compared to January 2023) and 99.9% support TLS v1.2.
Why TLS v1.3 Matters to Your Website’s Security
TLS v1.3 is the latest and most secure version and is quickly becoming the standard encryption protocol for the internet. The following advantages make TLS v1.3 superior when compared to TLS v1.2:
TLS v1.3 includes several security improvements, such as the removal of older, less secure cryptographic algorithms and, as a default, the use of Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). These improvements protect against attacks attempting to exploit weaknesses in the protocol.
TLS v1.3 uses stronger encryption algorithms than TLS v1.2, which makes it more secure against attacks that attempt to decrypt data being transmitted. This is particularly important today as cyber threats are growing in intensity and frequency.
Faster Connection Times
TLS v1.3 reduces the number of round trips required during the initial handshake between a client and server. This results in faster connection times and can help improve the performance of web applications and reduce latency.
TLS v1.3 has a simplified design compared to previous versions, which makes it easier to implement and reduces the risk of errors or vulnerabilities in the protocol.
As an FYI, the NIST (National Institute of Standards in Technology) requires that all government TLS servers and clients support TLS 1.2 with FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards)-based cipher suites must support TLS 1.3 by January 1, 2024.
LS v1.3 — an important milestone in the evolution of internet security
By improving the speed, security and usability of the protocol, TLS v1.3 has the potential to enhance the overall user experience of the internet and help protect against the ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks. In the future, we can expect to see wider adoption of TLS v1.3 by website owners. Also, count on continued improvements in internet security as technology continues to evolve.
In my next post, I’ll delve deeper into the world of TLS flood attacks, including how they can overwhelm the most robust DDoS protection solutions. Also, I’ll provide practical tips and insights on how to stay protected against this growing threat.
If you’d like to speak with a Radware cybersecurity professional, you can reach us here. We would love to hear from you.