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The Importance of Message Authentication Code in SSL/TLSby@hackaim
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The Importance of Message Authentication Code in SSL/TLS

by TechviralSeptember 7th, 2021
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Transport Layer Security, better known as SSL/TLS, is an encryption protocol designed to offer secure communications over the internet. As an encryption method, SSL works on the basis of digital certificates, which are digitally signed with public keys. SSL uses the Diffie- Dahper algorithm that provides random access to the private key. The most commonly used and the most efficient way to establish secure socket layer is by using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. HTTPS is a secure way to transfer large groups of data, which is done via Internet connections.

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Transport Layer Security, better known as SSL/TLS, is an encryption protocol designed to offer secure communications over the internet. SSL, as compared to TCP/IP, is more robust and offers advanced authentication and encryption protocols to ensure that sensitive data is delivered securely and appropriately. As an encryption method, SSL works on the basis of digital certificates, which are digitally signed with public keys. SSL uses the Diffie- Dahper, an algorithm that provides random access to the private key.

Certificates


Certificates, which are also known as digital signatures, are the digital proof of authenticity issued by an organization. The most widely used SSL/TLS certificates include those issued by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and SSL Security Inc., which manages the PKI (plugged security) program. SSL/TLS works on the premise of digital certificates containing digital signatures. When a user requests a website, an internet browser verifies the authenticity of the site by checking if the given website certificate is contained in the URL (Uniform Resource Locater). If the site is trusted, it will display the appropriate SSL Certificate, which contains the digital signature.

Digital Signature


SSL/TLS uses the Digital Signature Certificate to ensure sensitive information is not accessible to anyone else. For example, a URL that claims to offer free music downloads appears as https instead of http in https vs. http test. Another benefit of SSL/TLS is that it can prevent tampering and breaking into secure web pages. It is possible for an unauthorized person to intercept and change the session history of web applications and web users, which is possible through tampering with the server.

SSL/TLS certificates


There are two methods of securely establishing SSL/TLS certificates. The most common way to do it is to use an intermediate certificate, or more commonly known as an SSL Certificate, which is an intermediate step along the way to the actual certificate. The advantage of SSL/TLS certificates is that they provide authentication and integrity to the end-user. On the other hand, there is another way of securing sensitive information using asymmetric encryption. An example of asymmetric encryption is Kerckhoffs's symmetric key cryptography, also known as MAC (Message Authentication Code), and CTR (or irreversible).

Transfer Protocol


The most commonly used and the most efficient way to establish a secure socket layer is by using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. The purpose of HTTP is to transfer large groups of data, which is done via Internet connections. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol also allows the transfer of sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, through the internet. It also enables the exchange of data between web browsers.


Security Features


SSL/TLS has its own set of security features. Among them is the use of random external IP addresses and digital certificates for ensuring integrity and authentication of transmitted messages. Apart from these features, SSL/TLS also uses stronger encryption protocols compared to HTTP. When using SSL/TLS, it is necessary to have a valid and current SSL/TLS certificate, issued by Let's encrypt, to verify the authenticity of your SSL/TLS website.

Certificate Authorities


Certificate authorities keep track of all SSL/TLS certificates in their database and update them as and when necessary. Certificate authorities rely on message authentication code, which is a type of digital signature. A digital signature is an encrypted string that contains a list of public-key components and a secret algorithm that is stored together with the public key. Message authentication code is an algorithm that verifies the integrity of a message, preventing unauthorized access to a site.


As stated earlier, message authentication code, which is used with SSL/TLS, offers a higher level of security. However, while using this mechanism, webmasters are recommended not to use their favorite change of password. It is because passwords are often times compromised and misused by malicious actors. It is because of such attacks that Let's Encrypt devised the concept of 'pinning' or locking down an SSL/TLS handshake to prevent tampering or breaking the security seal. So, when you are opting for SSL/TLS for your website, ensure that you are aware of the message authentication code and follow the security precautions.