Difference Between SSL and TLS

Difference Between SSL and TLS

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Jan 10, 2024 16:20 IST

The main difference between SSL and TLS is that SSL protocol utilizes explicit connections in order to establish a secure data transmission between the web server and the client. In contrast, TLS protocol utilizes implicit connections in order to establish a secure data transmission between the web server and the client.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are cryptographic protocols that provide secure communication over a computer network. They are commonly used for securing data transfers on the Internet, such as during web browsing, emailing, and instant messaging. Let us see their differences in detail below.

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Table of content

Difference between SSL and TLS 

For a better understanding, let’s explore the differences between SSL and TLS protocols in a tabular format:

Benchmark SSL protocol TLS protocol
Full form Secure Socket Layer Transport Layer Security
Does this protocol support the Fortezza algorithm? Yes No
What is the latest version of this protocol? 3.0 1.3
What does this layer use to generate a master secret? Message digest Pseudo-random function
Does this protocol use the Hashed Message Authentication Code protocol? No. It uses the Message Authentication Code protocol. Yes
What is the nature of this protocol? This protocol is quite complex. This protocol is straightforward.
Is this protocol more secure in comparison to the other protocol? No. It is not as secure as the TLS protocol. Yes

Note: Fortezza algorithm is a cryptographic system that combines the use of hardware-based tokens and software-based algorithms to secure web-based information exchange.

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What is SSL?

SSL definition: SSL or Secure Socket layer is an encryption-based Internet security protocol that utilizes explicit connections in order to establish a secure data transmission between the web server and the client. 

SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, encrypts the connection between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transmitted remains confidential and safe. There are four SSL protocols; let’s explore each of them.

  • SSL record protocol: This protocol is responsible for providing various services, such as confidentiality and message integrity, to the SSL connection. And in this protocol, the application data is segregated into fragments.
  • Handshake protocol: This protocol is responsible for establishing sessions and allowing the client and server to authenticate themself by sending a series of messages to each other.
  • Change-cipher protocol: This protocol is responsible for causing the pending state to be copied into the current state. This protocol consists of a single message which is 1 byte in length and can have only one value.
  • Alert protocol: This protocol is responsible for conveying SSL-related alerts to the peer entity.

Apart from all this, it is essential to know that the advantage of SSL protocol is that the service can be customized to meet the application’s specific requirements. You should also note that SSL protocol is a two-layered protocol (Record protocol and a Handshake protocol).

 

What is TLS? 

TLS definition: TLS, or Transport Layer Security, is a security protocol that utilizes implicit connections for providing privacy and data integrity for internet communications.

Transport Layer Security, or TLS, evolved from SSL. TLS version 1.0 began as SSL version 3.1, but the protocol’s name was altered before publishing to reflect that it was no longer affiliated with Netscape. Due to this, both protocols, TLS and SSL, are frequently used as synonyms.

The TLS protocol is also used to encrypt various other communications such as email, remote desktop sessions, messaging, etc. Implementing this protocol is considered a best practice for developing secure web apps. Many things make TLS more secure compared to SSL protocols, such as key material generation, message authentication, supported cipher suites, and, most importantly, the use of new and more secure algorithms.

You can also explore: Networking Basics – A Beginner’s Guide

Key differences between SSL and TLS 

Now that we know what SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols are let’s explore the key differences between SSL and TLS protocols. Here are the key differences:

  • The SSL protocol is quite complex, whereas the TLS protocol is straightforward.
  • Transport Layer Security is more secure in comparison to the Secure Socket Layer.
  • The SSL protocol supports the Fortezza algorithm but is not the same in the TLS protocol case.
  • The full form of SSL is a Secure Socket Layer, and the full form of TLS is Transport Layer Security.
  • In the SSL protocol, Message digest generates a master secret, whereas, in the TLS protocol, the Pseudo-random function generates a master secret.
  • The SSL protocol layer uses the Message Authentication Code protocol. On the other hand, the TLS protocol uses the Hashed Message Authentication Code protocol.

What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?
What is the Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS?
HTTP and HTTPS are both protocols used for transmitting data over the web, but they have a crucial difference concerning security.

Conclusion

Both the protocols, SSL and TLS, provide an overview of data transmission authentication and encryption over the Internet. And if we compare Secure Socket Layer certificates with Transport Layer Security certificates, we can see many similarities between these two, as both of these protocols perform the same function of encrypting data exchange. Both protocols provide websites with the same HTTPS address bar, which is widely recognized as the hallmark symbol of online security.

In this article, we have discussed what Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security protocols are, along with the difference between SSL and TLS protocols. If you have any queries regarding this topic, please feel free to drop your queries in the comment box. We will be happy to help!

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FAQs

What is the main difference between SSL and TLS?

The main difference between SSL and TLS is that SSL protocol utilizes explicit connections in order to establish a secure data transmission between the web server and the client. On the other hand, TLS protocol utilizes implicit connections in order to establish a secure data transmission between the web server and the client.

Regarding the difference between SSL and TLS, which protocol is much more secure?

In terms of the difference between SSL and TLS, TLS protocol is better than SSL, and this is because TLS protocol is much more secure as compared to SLS protocol.

Regarding the difference between SSL and TLS, why is the TLS protocol more secure in comparison to the SSL protocol?

In terms of the difference between SSL and TLS, the TLS protocol is more secure as it employs a secure Key-Hashing for Message Authentication Code (HMAC), ensuring that a record cannot be altered during transmission over an open network such as the Internet.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio

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