Staying On Top of TLS Attacks

The Transport Layer Security (TLS)/ Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol is critical to ensuring data confidentiality, privacy, security, and integrity in transit on the internet. However, they are not 100% immune from being attacked by threat actors who leverage SSL/ TLS vulnerabilities to orchestrate attacks. The most effective way to stay on top of these TLS attacks is by deploying the best SSL certificates for websites. 

How do the best SSL certificates protect websites? Read on to find out. 

EHA

Using the Best SSL Certificate for Websites to Stay on Top of TLS Attacks 

Use of TLS 1.3 

The best SSL certificates for websites use the latest and most secure version of SSL – the TLS 1.3 protocol.

The security challenges with earlier versions:  

All SSL protocols and TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are already deprecated by all browsers and compliance frameworks such as PCI-DSS owing to their gaping security holes. These deprecated protocols rely on broken hash functions – SHA-1 and MD5- making it easy for attackers to perform impersonation attacks and downgrade attacks. They only offer weak cryptography, which is incapable of assuring the highest levels of data security, integrity, and privacy.  

TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and SSL protocols require the implementation of legacy cipher suites that only pave the way for misconfigurations and widen the attack surface. These deprecated protocols contain TLS/ SSL vulnerabilities such as DROWN, BEAST, POODLE, SWEET 32, Heartbleed, CRIME, LUCKY 13, etc. Attackers exploit these known vulnerabilities to orchestrate severely damaging TLS attacks and HTTPS decryptions. 

The websites continuing to use certificates with these deprecated protocols will be flagged/ marked as ‘Not Secure’ through the address bar or full-page warnings. This negatively impacts brand image and customer trust and confidence. 

Though not deprecated yet by browsers, TLS 1.2 does have a vulnerability that allows attackers to orchestrate man-in-the-middle attacks (called Raccoon attacks) to obtain session keys and exfiltrate encrypted data. 

Why is TLS 1.3 better? 

TLS 1.3 doesn’t support outdated, vulnerable algorithms and ciphers and necessitates using more recent and stronger cipher suites and hashing algorithms. It has reduced the number of negotiations involved in TLS handshakes and simplified the key exchange process, thereby reducing the time required to establish the handshake.

TLS 1.3 necessitates AEAD bulk encryption instead of block mode ciphers which have known vulnerabilities and flaws. Overall, TLS 1.3 helps make internet and browser-client communications safer. So, using TLS 1.3 protocols, the best SSL certificates help prevent all TLS attacks. 

If you are currently using deprecated or vulnerable versions of TLS protocols, it is best to upgrade to the latest SSL certificates. Or, at the very least, check for the latest updates for TLS 1.2 certificates and patch the existing vulnerabilities. 

Also, Download Your Copy of OWASP Top 10 2022 Playbook

Robust Cryptographic Algorithms and Keys

The most secure SSL certificates use strong cryptographic algorithms and keys. They use 2048-4096 bit-sized keys for asymmetric encryption and 128-256 bit-sized keys for symmetric encryption. Keys smaller than this range are insecure, while larger keys have heavy computational resource requirements, eroding the website’s performance. 

For hashing, the best SSL certificates for websites use SHA-2 hashing algorithms instead of SHA-1 algorithms that are prone to collision attacks. They use ECC to ensure the strongest public key encryption. Using TLS 1.3, they allow the additional elliptical curves to further strengthen security. 

Certificate Management Systems 

The best SSL certificates for websites such as Entrust from Indusface offer a centralized Certificate Management System (CMS) that helps you stay on top of TLS risks. How so? They offer greater visibility over the SSL certificate lifecycle and automate certificates’ re-issue, revocation, and renewal. This way, organizations can ensure the timely renewal of certificates. They offer timely insights and reports on SSL-related issues to help organizations take timely action.

They also offer TLS server tests and crypto agility tests to identify proactively 

  • Weak encryption algorithms
  • Badly configured servers
  • Certificate misconfigurations
  • Outdated protocols or modules 
  • Elements with known vulnerabilities
  • Short keys
  • Lower key strength
  • Compliance failures
  • Best practice violations, etc. 

Through regular crypto-agility and server testing, you can identify and remediate issues that erode your website’s SSL security. 

Inspection Tools for SSL Visibility 

Attackers often use encryption to evade detection and bypass security defenses that don’t have visibility into encrypted data. As a result, the number of encrypted attacks has grown quickly. 

The most secure SSL certificates are equipped to stop these TLS attacks effectively. They use traffic inspection tools such as advanced WAFs and intrusion prevention systems to decrypt and monitor incoming traffic. To prevent performance issues and wastage of computational resources, these tools typically decrypt parts of the session at the network edge to prevent encrypted DDoS attacks. 

Conclusion

The best SSL certificates for websites are effective against all kinds of SSL/ TLS attacks and help you to always stay ahead of attackers.

Also, Download Your Copy of OWASP Top 10 2022 Playbook

Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.