TLS/SSL security for websites


Imagine waking up one morning on the news that your company has suffered a data breach. While studying the headlines, you learn that the hacker managed to steal the usernames passwords, addresses and payment advice of 85,000 clients. In these days and weeks, you finally learn from investigators that the hacker managed to find this info quite easily because your business’s web pages weren’t protected.

As a consequence of this easy oversight, your organization will spend millions of dollars for forensic specialists, PR firms, litigation charges and much more. Furthermore, the earnings and stock prices plummet as consumers decide to take their company and their stock portfolio elsewhere.

To be waxed or not waxed, that is the question!

Luckily, the chance of the above scenario can be lowered through taking steps to make sure that your company’s web pages are protected. If you have ever surfed the web, you have probably noticed URLs that begin with “https.” The ‘s’ stands for safe and lets a internet browser know that the site it is linking to is secure and legitimate.

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Having encryption current on a website is important as it hides sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card information. With the encryption, this sensitive info appears to be quite a garbled mess of figures. Even if a hacker spies on the web traffic and brings back the information packets, they wouldn’t be able to translate what has been sent between a customer and a company. Businesses can therefore make sure that their site is protected as well as encrypted by using the TLS/SSL protocols.

While the phrases TLS and SSL are inclined to be employed interchangeably, there are a couple of differences between the two that one must be aware of. SSL stands for its secure sockets layer protocol and it had been established by Netscape in 1994. The protocol was created as a means to keep the internet connection between two approaches protected as well as to protect any sensitive information sent between the two systems.

TLS stands for your transportation layer security protocol. It was first introduced in 1999 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). As an upgrade to SSL, TLS provides strong confidentiality, integrity and authentication into the net connections that take place between a web site and those who surf the website.

Confidentiality, integrity, credibility, oh my!

The first protection that the TLS protocol supplies is confidentiality, that’s the action of keeping something personal between two parties. When an individual’s browser connects to a site server, the expectation is that sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, account information and payment procedures are all kept confidential between the 2 entities. That is so that a person spying on your network traffic wouldn’t be in a position to differentiate such information.

TLS uses encryption algorithms to obscure data so that sensitive information remains private between the parties that are planned. If an outside party tries to extract encrypted information, he or she would be given a garbled mess instead of usable intel.

The next defense TLS supplies is ethics, that’s the action of making sure a document or message has not been modified. For example, if a user is performing online banking and makes the decision to transfer cash to a friend, a hacker could alter the recipient account to their own prior to the bank server receives the request which would be undesirable. TLS employs something named HMAC (hash message authentication code) to verify that information has not been tampered with during transit.

After a message is inserted into a hash function it returns a hash number that is unique to this message. If one little issue is changed in the message such as a letter or even a space, the hash function creates a totally different hash number that looks nothing like the first hash.

By using the example from before, in the event the banking server receives the transfer request as well as the hash of the received message doesn’t match exactly what the initially hashed message is assumed to be, then the request will be denied. This prevents unauthorized transfers.

The next defense that TLS supplies is authentication, that’s the action of verifying the identity. Before logging into a website with credentials that may grant a person access to sensitive information, users want to be confident that they are on a legitimate website and not a spoofed model.

TLS allows a site to exhibit itself as legitimate by owning a digital certificate that is accepted by an entity called a Certificate Authority.

The same as American citizens affirm their identity with all driver’s licenses that are issued from the DMV, sites prove their identity with electronic certificates. The presence of electronic certifications assures users that they are on the proper site and that their login info is not being mined by hackers.

Not only do the TLS/SSL protocols allow companies to protect and secure their sites using industry best practices, these protocols ultimately provide consumers and other casual browsers with reassurance when they see the lock symbol in their URL bar.

Therefore, using encryption on your websites is a fantastic way to guarantee clients that your organization values cybersecurity and is dedicated to taking the correct precautions to ensure that sensitive information remains secure.

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