The Importance of Upgrading to TLS Version 1.2

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Exponential Advancement in Technology

With the exponential advancement in technology, the skill sets of infamous hackers are on the rise. Hackers can not only target companies' personal information but also attack their old browsers, applications, and protocols (Polk, McKay, & Chokhani, 2014). Without appropriate encryption, organizations' data are no longer safe. E-commerce and online environments using early Transport Layer Security (TLS) such as TLS 1.1 are more vulnerable to the risk of data breach, hence the need to upgrade to TLS 1.2.

Risks of Using TLS 1.1

Using older versions of TLS such as TLS 1.1 put companies at risks of security breaches. According to Krawczyk, Paterson, & Wee (2013), numerous vulnerabilities are linked to early encryption protocols, particularly TLS 1.1. To begin with, TLS 1.1 puts customers' data at risk. Moreover, the consequences of failing to comply with Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) and suffering a data breach can translate into fines and termination of companies' ability to provide secure services (Polk, McKay, & Chokhani, 2014). What is more, TLS 1.1 is increasingly vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks, whereby hackers intercept information in mid-communication and convey them on after altering or reading such information (Bos et al., 2015). According to Polk, McKay, & Chokhani (2014), TLS 1.1 is particularly open to BEAST, DROWN, POODLE, and SLOTH exploits, which demonstrate how hackers are increasingly taking advantage of flaws in TLS 1.1 to compromise companies.

Vulnerabilities in Early TLS Versions

There are numerous grave vulnerabilities in early TLS such as TLS 1.1, which left unaddressed, can put companies at risk of being breached. Although it is possible to device countermeasures against certain attacks on TLS 1.1, upgrading to a later TLS version (TLS 1.2) is recommended since it is the most reliable method of protecting systems against protocol vulnerabilities (Krawczyk, Paterson, & Wee, 2013). Any institution that processes, transmits, or stores information is at risk and should upgrade to higher versions such as TLS 1.2. As a result of the pervasiveness of TLS 1.1, it is a major target for attackers, necessitating complete cutover to latest versions to disable any fallbacks.

Benefits and Features of TLS 1.2

TLS 1.2 allows the use of improved cipher suites such as those having ephemeral key agreement and more effective elliptic curve algorithms for use. Such better cipher suites provide better security and privacy such as forward-security (Bos et al., 2015). Additionally, they offer improved performance in the sense that elliptic curve is faster compared to other forms of encryption versions. These additional features give companies information about what their websites are using for security protocols (Polk, McKay, & Chokhani, 2014). Thus, TLS 1.2 has become the most commonly used TLS version due to the numerous security improvements as opposed to TLS 1.1. The overall benefit of TLS 1.2 is that it addresses the majority of vulnerabilities that exist in earlier versions such as TLS 1.1.

Importance of Upgrading Encryption Protocols

Overall, it is critically important that institutions upgrade early encryption protocols such as TLS 1.1 to more secure alternatives like TLS 1.2. In the long run, being proactive is the best way to avoid undesirable security breaches against organizations and customers. Notably, the upfront costs of conducting system updates, particularly TLS 1.2, are less than what companies would spend resolving potential security breaches later. Offering secure experiences enables clients to feel confident about doing business with organizations' web platforms since security is a critical part of ensuring outstanding customer experience.


Bos, J. W., Costello, C., Naehrig, M., & Stebila, D. (2015, May). Post-quantum key exchange for the TLS protocol from the ring learning with errors problem. In Security and Privacy (SP), 2015 IEEE Symposium on (pp. 553-570). IEEE.

Krawczyk, H., Paterson, K. G., & Wee, H. (2013). On the Security of the TLS Protocol: A Systematic Analysis. In Advances in Cryptology–CRYPTO 2013 (pp. 429-448). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Polk, T., McKay, K., & Chokhani, S. (2014). Guidelines for the Selection, Configuration, and Use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) Implementations. NIST Special Publication, 800(52), 32.

September 11, 2023
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Cyber Security

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