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Wednesday, 17 October 2018 09:00

Major browsers to deprecate older TLS versions from 2020

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Major browsers to deprecate older TLS versions from 2020 Pixabay

Major browser makers are moving away from older versions of the Transport Layer Security protocol, with co-ordinated announcements from Microsoft, Apple, Google and Mozilla detailing the changes.

TLS provides confidentiality and integrity of data in transit between clients and servers exchanging information. Version 1.0 dates back about 20 years.

Google said TLS 1.2 had been published about 10 years ago and adopted widely.

Given that, it said the Chrome browser would deprecate TLS 1.0 and 1.1 from version 72 onwards; this would be seen by early adopters beginning in January 2020.

Mozilla said it would disable support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 from March 2020 onwards.

"Though we are not aware of specific problems with TLS 1.0 that require immediate action, several aspects of the design are neither as strong or as robust as we would like given the nature of the Internet today," the Mozilla project's Martin Thomson said in a statement.

"Most importantly, TLS 1.0 does not support modern cryptographic algorithms."

Microsoft's announcement said it would disable TLS 1.0 and 1.1 in both its Edge and Internet Explorer browsers in the first half of 2020.

"January 19 of next year marks the 20th anniversary of TLS 1.0, the inaugural version of the protocol that encrypts and authenticates secure connections across the Web, Kyle Pflug, senior program manager, Microsoft Edge, wrote.

"Over the last 20 years, successor versions of TLS have grown more advanced, culminating with the publication of TLS 1.3, which is currently in development for a future version of Microsoft Edge."

Pflug added that while Microsoft was not aware of significant vulnerabilities with its up-to-date implementations of TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1, vulnerable third-party implementations did exist.

"Moving to newer versions helps ensure a more secure Web for everyone. Additionally, we expect the IETF [Internet Engineering Task Force] to formally deprecate TLS 1.0 and 1.1 later this year, at which point protocol vulnerabilities in these versions will no longer be addressed by the IETF," he added.

Apple said support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 would be removed from its Safari browser on both iOS and macOS from March 2020.

"Properly configured for App Transport Security compliance, TLS 1.2 offers security fit for the modern Web," Christopher Wood, of Apple's secure transports team, said in a statement.

"It is the standard on Apple platforms and represents 99.6% of TLS connections made from Safari. TLS 1.0 and 1.1 — which date back to 1999 — account for less than 0.36% of all connections.

"With the recent finalisation of TLS 1.3 by the IETF in August 2018, the proportion of legacy TLS connections will likely drop even further. TLS 1.2 is also required for HTTP/2, which delivers significant performance improvements for the Web."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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