TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. It is a protocol for establishing a secure, encrypted connection between a client and a server over the internet. TLS is the successor to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which was originally developed by Netscape in the mid-1990s.
The TLS protocol provides authentication, confidentiality, and integrity for data exchanged between a client and a server. When a TLS connection is established, the client and server negotiate a cipher suite, which determines the encryption algorithm, message authentication code (MAC), and key exchange mechanism that will be used to secure the connection.
TLS is widely used to secure online transactions, such as credit card transactions, online banking, and e-commerce. It is also used to secure email, instant messaging, and other types of online communication.
To use TLS, a website must have a TLS certificate, which is issued by a trusted third-party certificate authority (CA). The certificate contains information about the website, such as its domain name, and is used to authenticate the website to the client. When a client connects to a website using TLS, the website presents its TLS certificate to the client, which the client verifies against a list of trusted root certificates installed on the client’s computer. If the certificate is valid and trusted, the client and server can proceed to establish a secure connection.
TLS has evolved over the years to address security vulnerabilities and improve performance. The latest version of TLS is TLS 1.3, which was released in 2018 and offers improved security and performance over previous versions.
TLS vs SSL
TLS (Transport Layer Security) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) are both cryptographic protocols used for securing data transmissions over the internet. SSL was originally developed by Netscape in the 1990s and was widely used until it was succeeded by TLS, which is an improved and more secure version of SSL.
The main differences between TLS and SSL are:
- Security: TLS is generally considered to be more secure than SSL because it has stronger cryptographic algorithms and key sizes. SSL has been vulnerable to various attacks over the years, and many of these vulnerabilities have been addressed in TLS.
- Compatibility: TLS is not backwards compatible with SSL, which means that TLS clients cannot communicate with SSL servers and vice versa. Most modern browsers and servers support TLS, so it is more widely used than SSL.
- Performance: TLS is generally faster than SSL because it uses more efficient cryptographic algorithms and supports better session resumption mechanisms.
- Versions: TLS has several versions (TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2, TLS 1.3), while SSL has only a few versions (SSL 2.0, SSL 3.0).
TLS is, therefore, considered to be more secure, faster, and more widely supported than SSL. For this reason, SSL is no longer recommended for use and TLS should be used instead.