With the increase in cyberattacks, online users always confirm their validity before giving their confidential information. SSL certificates are a sign of authenticity that ensures that their data on this site will remain safe. But SSL protocol also has security problems that are pushing people to find its alternative. Let us discuss the importance of SSL certificates and their drawbacks, too; then, we will explore who can have the best chance of replacing them.
Importance of SSL certificates
If you are running an online business, then providing security to your customers is one of the most crucial tasks. If your business requires a client’s personal information (like user Id, email, passwords, banking details), then the need for a safe platform further increases. A secure site helps improve your relationship with your customers that in turn, increases sales and revenues.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates help you protect your site from the reach of attackers via encryption. These certificates utilize public-key cryptography to safeguard all the communication on your site. SSL or TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates are issued by trusted certification authorities that ensure no one intercepts and reads the data shared on your website.
A website with a valid SSL certificate has a padlock sign on the browser’s left side, and it starts with HTTPS instead of the traditional insecure HTTP protocol.
Ø History of SSL Certificates
In 1994, Netscape launched the first SSL protocol to protect web users from known security threats. SSL ensures that all the data on an HTTPS site is encrypted and away from malicious actors’ reach. Its updates keep coming to address all the security flaws found in the earlier released versions.
Almost all the websites implemented SSL certificates to secure their data and customers’ confidential information, but they were prone to many cyberattacks. So, SSL certificates were unable to protect the users and the website owners from attackers fully. Therefore, the TLS protocol was introduced to cope with most cybersecurity problems, but it also has its flaws.
An SSL-enabled website takes more time to load the webpage due to extensive encoding/decoding processes to set up a secure connection. Earlier SSL incarnations were prone to multiple cyberattacks, and malicious actors could steal the data of the customers and the website’s resources.
Another major problem with SSL/TLS certificates is that they are granted by CAs (certification authorities). These CAs check the organization entirely, it’s right to use the domain, its physical address, and more before issuing an SSL certificate to the applicant.
The principal value addition is that the CAs circumvent the risk of being compromised due to their reputation in the online community and take the best security measures possible before issuing the certificate. However, there is always a risk of giving one to the wrong person or organization coincidentally.
The users trust the websites with SSL certificates and can be deceived easily. For instance, a client submits its confidential details to buy something from a site but ends up being a victim of bad actors. The website was somehow in the hacker’s hands during the certificate issuance process.
Since the introduction of the very first security protocol, there have been security problems. SSL launched multiple updates to tackle the security issues, but even the improved SSL versions could not provide complete protection to users and the websites. SSL v3.0 was the last version restricted by Google due to many security vulnerabilities in this security protocol – it seems to be safe, but you always must look for better protection.
Nowadays, TLS v1.3 is being used by almost all websites, and it is considered one of the best security protocols with regular updates to provide maximum protection. But it still has some weaknesses that push people to find its alternative and many individuals think that blockchain is the right replacement for SSL/TLS.
Ø Blockchain as an Alternative to SSL
As SSL/TLS security protocol cannot provide complete protection and is prone to multiple cyberattacks, people turn their faces towards blockchain. Though blockchain also has come under fire due to many security breaches. Those security problems were caused by cryptocurrency complications and not due to blockchain.
Blockchain has more security features than SSL/TLS and has minimum security vulnerabilities in technologies available so far. When blockchain is implemented in the online world, it supplies better authentication of the organizations involved without any password requirement to handle the framework behind it.
SSL/TLS utilizes encryption to safeguard the communication between the user and the server, but it has failed on many occasions. Blockchain does much better than this as it scatters all the data in a distributed ledger. This assists in avoiding any data leakages.
Unlike SSL certificates, blockchain technology does not rely on any third party to issue the certificate. For a framework to be successful, the entities involved must trust the decision-maker. But it seems impossible for blockchain as no CA or human interaction is involved.
However, there are chances of SSL and blockchain integration. Indeed, many blockchain-based SSL certificates have already been launched. These certificates do not need any CA for issuance, so they provide better authentication and protection. The distributed and decentralized design of these certificates makes it impossible for hackers to launch an attack. REMME and DNSChain are famous examples of blockchain-based SSL certificates.
SSL certificates have been providing security to the users and websites since 1995, but they have multiple security problems. Blockchain offers better protection than SSL, but it lacks human interaction to confirm the organizations’ identity, so it is too soon to say blockchain will replace SSL. At this point, we can say that it can replace SSL only by overcoming its vulnerabilities and developing technical consistency to maintain digital security and decentralized confidence.