TLS (Transport Layer Security) is the official name for the internet security protocol commonly known as SSL. The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) originally created the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to enable trusted, encrypted internet connections in the mid 1990s accompanying the explosion of the World Wide Web in importance and use. TLS surpassed SSL as the standard for trusted certificate-based communications across open networks like the internet in 1999. However, the term SSL already had a great deal of momentum in the parlance of IT security professionals by that time, and so that term has stuck.
The most current revision of the TLS standard, version 1.3, was released in March 2018. TLS 1.3 differs from its predecessor TLS 1.2 primarily in that it allows for faster encrypted connections and that it removes a long list of older encryption techniques (known as cipher suites) as possibilities for connections. Removing these vulnerable cipher suites from potential operation defeats a series of common "downgrade" attacks in which a man-in-the-middle forces the connection to downgrade from a safe encryption method to something that it can spy upon.
Though there exists a clear technical distinction between the older SSL standard and TLS, almost all current usage of the term SSL refers to contemporary protocols and certificates that in actuality are governed by TLS. Due to the overwhelming use of SSL in common communication and relatively little knowledge of the term TLS among those who are not certificate industry professionals, GeoCerts has chosen to use the two terms more or less interchangeably in our communications.
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