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Discussion 12:What is SSL/TLS? Please explain (

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SSL/TLS are protocols that operate at Layer 7 of the OSI model, the Application layer. One of the key VPN protocols today is SSL/TLS, which is the main alternative for a VPN solution if you don’t want to leverage an IPSec solution. However, before you consider this protocol in conjunction with VPNs, it’s important to understand the origin of this protocol.

If you have ever surfed the World Wide Web, you have used the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to connect to a Web site. One of the drawbacks of HTTP is that is does not include the ability to encrypt or otherwise protect the data stream between the client and server. This wasn’t an issue until the early 1990s, when the need to protect against eavesdropping on communications became critical to the ultimate success of the World Wide Web. While several technologies have addressed this need, one solution has rapidly become the industry standard: Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Schultz, E. (2005).

SSL supports 128-bit encryption, while TLS will support the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with keys up to 256 bits. Schultz, E. (2005). SSL was originally proposed as a standard by Netscape. Version 1.0 had serious security flaws, which were corrected in versions 2.0 and 3.0. As this protocol has become more widely used, it has been formalized in the IETF standard known as Transport Layer Security (TLS). The SSL/TLS protocol provides a method for secure client/server communications across a network. SSL/TLS prevents eavesdropping and tampering with data in transit. SSL/TLS also provides endpoint authentication and communications confidentiality through encryption.

In typical end-user/browser usage, SSL/TLS authentication is one-way. Only the server is authenticated when the client compares the information entered to access a server to information on the SSL certificate on the server. The client knows the server’s identity, but not vice versa; the client remains unauthenticated or anonymous. Technically SSL and TLS sometimes confuse people. In practical terms, they are the same thing While the IETF standard refers to the protocol as TLS, the industry still uses the acronym SSL when referring to the protocol used to secure browser communications.


A secure sockets layer is a popular implementation in the concept of public-key encryption. It is more of an internet security protocol that the internet Browsers and other web servers used to transmit critical details. Considering the security it provides, it has become a critical part of the overall security protocol that is termed as transport layer security (El-Hajj, 2011). This is easy for even a non-technical person to understand. In the browsers we use, we can see the secure protocol being used as the TLS in different ways. The HTTP will be replaced with the https and there will be a small padlock sign in the status bar, which makes an indication that the browsing is secure. Especially, we can find this kind of security protocol when we are accessing banking services and payment transfer websites. This ensures that information is securely passing through.

The transport layer security and the secure socket layer make use of certificate authorities significantly. When the browser is requesting a secure page, it automatically adds another s to the HTTP which means the browser is sending out the public key and certificate that is used to check three different things (Satapathy & Livingston, 2016). The first would be the certificate to validate if it is a trusted party and to check the certificate itself is valid and to show that the certificate does have a relationship with the website from which the request has been made (Das & Samdaria, 2014). A good example would be firefox. Firefox does not allow the script from one particular site to access the data from another website. In addition, it Makes use of SSL/TLS to keep the web server communication protected via the HTTPS protocol. The compatibility of the browser with this protocol is an addon. 

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