How Professionals Address 7 Key SSL Security Issues & Vulnerabilities

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology is an integral part of the online business as it creates a safe environment where potential customers can confidently make a purchase.

Efficient software development companies always ensure to implement SSL as a part of its service.

SSL certification is a way to secure communication between customer’s web browser and the website. This certificate is proof that the particular website is owned and managed by a legitimate business.

But, as we can see that the technological world is constantly evolving, SSL isn’t an exception. This technology has been evolved extensively in the past few years. With continuous changes, new vulnerabilities and issues begin to creep up. Let’s take a look at the seven most significant SSL security issues and vulnerabilities professionals deal with to protect your website from getting compromised.

1. Authentic SSL Certificate

The SSL certificate is one of the most vital components of SSL security. It serves as a symbol for the users to trust a website. Considering this sensitive situation, it must be acquired from a genuine certificate authority (CA). It is advisable to obtain an SSL certificate from a CA with a larger market share. This minimizes the chance of your certificate getting revoked.

You should never rely on self-signed certificates. Ideally, your certificate should use the SHA-2 hashing algorithm, which is known to be free from vulnerabilities. The credibility of a website increases when it is provided with an extended validation certificate (EV). The majority of web browsers display the sites with EV certificates in green color. It shows that the site is safe to be used by the end users.

Much like unauthentic SSL certificate, a user connecting to an SSL service with an expired certificate is inappropriate. Usually, such kind of certificates provide the users with an error message that the certificate’s validity period has lapsed. This means that the CA is no longer responsible to confirm the integrity of the certificate.

2. Disable Obsolete Versions Of SSL

Older versions of SSL can give birth to various security issues which makes it mandatory for you to discard all the outdated ones. For instance, SSL 2.0 is no longer considered to be safe. Also, SSL 3.0 is now not relevant because of the POODLE attack.

Ideally, your web server should be configured to support TLS v1.2, as it is considered to provide the best security in the current environment. Most of the web browsers do support this protocol. For the users running legacy browsers, TLS 1.1 and 1.0 support can be enabled.

3. Deactivate TLS Compression

The hackers can decrypt parts of a secure connection by making use of errors in the compression process. This makes it inevitable to disable TLS compression to prevent your website from such an attack. In addition, you should be aware of the fact that TIME and BREACH attacks can potentially exploit the HTTP compression. However, these attacks are extremely hard to accomplish.

4. Prohibit Weak Ciphers

Ciphers of less than 128 bits should be disabled because they don’t provide adequate encryption potency. You can also deactivate the export ciphers by doing this. It is extremely important to disable RC4 cipher as it is vulnerable to various attacks.

It is advisable to configure your web browser to prefer ECDHE ciphers that have forward secrecy enabled. This signifies that even if the server’s private key gets compromised, it won’t be possible for hackers to decrypt intercepted communications from the past.

5. Secure Cookies & HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

In order to secure a website, it’s important to make sure that all cookies that control user sessions are safeguarded with the secure attribute. This protects a cookie from getting interrupted by being forced upon an insecure connection. Along with this, it is equally important to enable HSTS for preventing any unencrypted communications to the website.

6. Disable Client Recognition

With the help of recognition, the client and the server do not have an SSL exchange in order to agree on the parameters of the connection. Client-initiated recognition can trigger denial-of-service attacks, which is a grave SSL security issue. It is because this process needs much more processing power on the server as it does for the client.

7. Refrain From Mixed Content

Proper encryption should be enabled on all areas of a website. It is not good to promote any kind of mixed content where a part of a page is encrypted and the remaining is not. Otherwise, it could lead the entire user session to get compromised. These seven issues must be addressed in order to confirm that the SSL implementation is safe and sound. Dealing with SSL security issues is merely a part of the website security. For ensuring that other vulnerabilities in the website aren’t compromising the security, it is mandatory to perform regular vulnerability scanning and penetration testing.

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