The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) —the organization that approves proposed Internet standards and protocols has approved TLS 1.3 as the next version of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol.  TLS allows client/server applications to communicate over the Internet in a way that is designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery.

How Does This Pertain to SSL Certificates?

In short, Technically Nothing.

The term SSL certificate has been used for the purposes of marketing since the creation of the digital certificates.  SSL just like TLS are actually protocols that utilize a digital certificates public & private keypair .

TLS & SSL Certificate
“TLS and SSL can both use the same digital certificate”

A digital certificate keypair by itself  is  nothing more than a place holder of 2048 bits or greater and is needed in order to perform encryption and validation. A protocol is the actual function of encryption that initializes that keypair to start encryption, such as the TLS or SSL Protocols. These protocols are set up and chosen on the server side by a server admin. Since TLS  or SSL  are protocol functions on the server and not pertaining to the digital certificate’s keypair it is uncertain why the industry calls Digital Certificates as SSL Certificates because of this principle. All SSL protocols that were all available are now perceived as a vulnerable protocol leaving only TLS until something better eventually comes up.

What is a Protocol or a Cipher?

Protocols and Cipher Suites are the actual communication language that performs encryption.
When the browser and the server/website communicate they are require to speak the same language. If a server is not configured to use the languages that the browser wants to use then both the browser and the server will not be able to communicate. This results in a communication failure.

What to Expect Technically?

With the official release of TLS 1.3 you can expect that there will eventually be a patch update to your server systems. This will either be pushed automatically to your server environment when it becomes available or will require a manual download and install for server systems inside a typology with no internet access. Admins should contact their server venders regarding any patches allowing for TLS 1.3 capability and how to apply it.

Personal Recommendations…

Admins should definitely look into applying the TLS 1.3 functionality to their systems by contacting their server venders. Just as new protocols get released they also expire. SSL protocol versions 1, 2, and 3 should not longer be used. The best practice currently is to use TLS protocols – TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2.

Admins should ensure through your server vender that they have the proper configurations to provide maximum protection against skilled and determined attackers. Especially for applications handling sensitive data or performing critical operations. Security is ever evolving and if admins become placid in their security they are doomed to opening their infrastructure to exploitations.

If you like to read more about the IETF approval regarding  ‘The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol Version 1.3’ to Proposed Standard click here.

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