Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 is becoming the preferred protocol for file transfers because of its improvements in security and performance. The TLS protocol is used by HTTPS and FTPS to authenticate the server, provide confidentiality and ensure data integrity. TLS replaced the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol in 1999 because SSL had known security vulnerabilities.
TLS 1.3 is the most recent iteration of the SSL/TLS protocol. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are no longer supported by tech companies like Apple and Google because they aren’t as secure. TLS 1.2 is still used in many companies, but some security vulnerabilities have been found.
If your company is thinking about switching to TLS 1.3, you need to know how it works and its advantages.
How TLS Works
TLS creates a secure channel through:
- Integrity of data
The server must authenticate itself before the client and server share keys. The client can be authenticated, but it’s not required.
The data sent over the channel must only be visible to the client and server.
The data can’t be changed by attackers without detection.
Advantages of TLS 1.3 over TLS 1.2
Advantage 1: More Secure than TLS 1.2
TLS 1.3 is more secure than TLS 1.2 for a few reasons:
- TLS 1.3 stopped supporting algorithms and ciphers that could be or have proven to be vulnerable.
- TLS 1.3 encrypts all handshake messages after the initial “Hello” from the server to the client.
- Version negotiation isn’t allowed.
- TLS 1.3 requires Perfect Forward ciphers for every handshake, which ensures Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
- TLS 1.3 doesn’t share private keys with trusted parties. It also generates a new and unique private key for every session.
- TLS 1.3 only allows Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data (AEAD) ciphers.
With TLS 1.2, the client can ask the server to use an older version of TLS (also called version negotiation). This makes the data more susceptible to a downgrade attack, which is when an attacker exploits vulnerabilities of past TLS versions to see data.
With TLS 1.2, the same private key can be shared with trusted third parties, like a data loss prevention mechanism or intrusion detection mechanism.
TLS 1.3 uses AEAD ciphers for bulk encryption. AEAD ciphers ensure confidentiality by encrypting data, but they also ensure integrity by adding a message authentication code (MAC) to the encrypted message.
Advantage 2: Better Performance than TLS 1.2
TLS 1.3 is faster than TLS 1.2 for two reasons:
- It takes half the steps to complete a handshake.
- Website visitors resume sessions almost instantaneously.
TLS 1.3 takes two negotiations between the client and server to set up a handshake, but TLS 1.2 takes four.
Secure File Transfers with TLS 1.3
If these security and performance advantages make you want to switch to TLS 1.3 for secure file transfers, we’ve got you covered. Thru, our cloud managed file transfer (MFT) solution, supports TLS 1.3 for HTTPS and FTPS.
Visit our secure file transfer page to learn more about the measures we take to ensure security.