HTTPS is a secure communications protocol that is used to authenticate a web server. HTTPS uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) to encrypt the communication between the web server and the web browser. HTTPS also provides a way to verify the identity of the web server.
When a web browser connects to a web server using HTTPS, the web browser verifies the web server’s identity. The web browser also checks to see if the connection is encrypted. If the connection is encrypted, the web browser will display a padlock icon in the address bar. In this, HTTPS uses something called public key cryptography to secure the communication between domains and servers. Let us see what it is.
Public key cryptography
Public key cryptography is a method of cryptography that uses a pair of keys to encrypt and decrypt data. One of the keys is public and can be shared with anyone, while the other key is private and must be kept secret. Data that is encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the private key, and vice versa.
TLS (Transport Layer Security) is a cryptographic protocol that is used to secure communications over a computer network. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a variation of the HTTP protocol that uses TLS to secure communications. TLS is used to encrypt communication between a client and a server, to ensure that the data cannot be read by anyone other than the intended recipient.
Public key cryptography is used in many different applications, such as email encryption, file encryption, and VPNs. It is also used in some digital signatures, which are a type of electronic signature that can be used to verify the authenticity of a document or message.
Public and private keys in HTTPS
HTTPS uses public-key cryptography to protect communications between clients and servers. A client and server exchange public keys as part of the initial handshake process. The client uses the server’s public key to encrypt data that is then sent to the server. The server decrypts the data using its private key.
Public and private keys are essential for HTTPS because they provide the means for encrypting and decrypting data. Without them, communications would be susceptible to interception and eavesdropping.
Here are some types of attacks that a domain is susceptible to in the absence of HTTPS protection.
Types of cyber attacks
Hackers with mal intentions have innovated several types of cyber-attacks. Some of them are given below.
DNS hijacking is a type of cyber attack that redirects users from a legitimate website to a malicious one. This can happen when DNS settings are configured incorrectly, or when malicious software changes them without the user’s knowledge. DNS hijacking can be used to steal sensitive information, redirect traffic to malicious websites, or even disable access to a legitimate website. DNS hijacking is a serious security threat, and it can be difficult to protect against.
Domain spoofing is the act of registering a domain name that is similar to an existing domain name in an attempt to deceive users into thinking they are visiting the legitimate site. This can be done by registering a misspelled version of the domain name, by using a different top-level domain, or by registering a domain name that closely resembles the legitimate domain name. Domain spoofing is often used in phishing attacks, where attackers create a fake website that looks identical to the legitimate site in an attempt to trick users into entering their login credentials.
BGP hijacking, also known as IP hijacking, is a type of cyberattack in which an attacker reroutes traffic intended for a particular IP address by announcing bogus route information to neighboring routers. This allows the attacker to intercept and redirect traffic meant for the victim’s IP address, often for malicious purposes such as launching a denial-of-service attack or stealing sensitive data.
BGP hijacking is a serious security threat to the intern-of-things (IoT) as it can be used to target specific devices or networks and disrupt service. For example, in 2016, a BGP hijacking attack was used to redirect internet traffic from Liberia, resulting in widespread internet outages. IoT devices are often more vulnerable to BGP hijacking attacks because they often use default or weak passwords, making it easy for attackers to gain access and modify router configurations.
On-path attacks are a type of network attack in which an attacker intercepts and modifies data packets as they travel between two devices on a network. By doing so, the attacker can control the flow of information and potentially disrupt communication. On-path attacks can be difficult to detect, as they often occur without any noticeable changes to the network traffic. However, they can be prevented by using encryption and other security measures.
Man in the middle attacks
Man in the middle attacks are a type of cyber attack where the attacker inserts themselves into a communication between two parties in order to gain access to sensitive information. This can be done by intercepting communication messages or by impersonating one of the parties involved in the communication. Man in the middle attacks can be very difficult to detect, and can be used to Steal data, hijack accounts, or commit other types of fraud.
Denial of service (DoS) is a cyber-attack that can make a website or an online service unavailable by overloading it with traffic.
HTTPS is necessary for a number of reasons. First, it ensures that communication between a website and a user’s browser is encrypted, so that third parties cannot intercept and read the data. This is important for both privacy and security. Second, HTTPS helps to ensure that a website is authentic – that is, that it is the website that it claims to be, and not a fake or malicious site. This is important for both safety and trust. Finally, HTTPS is a requirement for many features on modern websites, such as login forms and e-commerce transactions. Therefore, HTTPS is essential for many users in order to access the full range of features and functionality on the web.