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What is TLS 1.2?

What is TLS 1.2?

TLS 1.2, or Transport Layer Security 1.2, is a cryptographic protocol that facilitates secure communication between two parties over a network, most commonly the Internet. 


Understanding TLS 1.2

TLS 1.2 serves as a vital layer of protection for data exchanged between a client, such as a web browser or HIPAA compliant email, and a server, like a website or mail server. TLS 1.2 achieves this by employing a range of encryption algorithms and cipher suites during the handshake process. These cipher suites dictate the encryption methods used for data transmission, authentication, and message authentication code (MAC) generation. It provides privacy, data integrity, and authentication by encrypting the data to make it unreadable to potential eavesdroppers, verifying the identities of the communicating parties through digital certificates, and ensuring that the transmitted data remains unaltered. 


TLS 1.2 v other protocols 

TLS 1.2 vs. SSL

TLS 1.2 is like a newer and more secure version of SSL. Both TLS and SSL are used to protect information when it's sent between your computer and a website. However, SSL had some weaknesses that made it less safe, so people started using TLS 1.2 instead. It's like upgrading from an old lock to a newer and stronger one on your front door.


TLS 1.2 vs. TLS 1.3

TLS 1.2 is a previous model, and TLS 1.3 is the latest version. TLS 1.3 provides the inevitable improvements to TLS protocols which is already a secure method of guarding communication.


TLS 1.2 vs. IPsec

TLS 1.2 acts as a security gate at the entrance of a neighborhood, while IPsec is like a security system for each house in that neighborhood. TLS 1.2 secures data as it travels between two points on the internet, like a guard protecting a road. IPsec, on the other hand, provides security for individual devices or homes within the network, like security alarms for each house.


TLS 1.2 vs. PGP/GPG

TLS 1.2 is similar to a secure envelope that you use to send a letter through the mail. PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) are like special codes you put on the letter to ensure only the recipient can read it. So, TLS 1.2 is about securing the communication channel, while PGP/GPG focuses on securing the content of the message.

See also: Paubox Secure Message Center explained


Common uses of TLS 1.2

Securing web browsing

TLS 1.2 is commonly used to secure web browsing sessions. When you access websites via HTTPS (HTTP Secure), TLS 1.2 ensures that your interactions with websites, including logging in, making online payments, and submitting forms, are encrypted and secure.


Email encryption

TLS 1.2 can encrypt email communications between email clients and email servers (SMTP, IMAP, and POP3) and between email servers (server-to-server communication). This helps protect the confidentiality and integrity of email content.


Instant messaging and chat

Many instant messaging and chat applications use TLS 1.2 to encrypt messages and ensure that conversations remain private and tamper-resistant.


Voice over IP (VoIP)

TLS 1.2 can secure VoIP calls, ensuring that voice communication remains confidential and protected from eavesdropping.


Secure file transfer

When files are transferred over the internet, TLS 1.2 can be used to encrypt the data during transit. This is commonly employed in FTPS (FTP Secure) and SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol) for secure file transfers.


Secure data exchange in IoT

In the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, TLS 1.2 is used to secure communication between IoT devices and servers. This helps protect data generated by IoT sensors and devices from interception or tampering.

See also: What are Internet of Things (IoT) attacks?



Q: What does TLS 1.2 mean?

A: TLS 1.2 (Transport Layer Security 1.2).

Q: Is TLS 1.2 outdated?

A: TLS 1.2 is still adequate when weaker ciphers and threats are removed.

Q: Is TLS or SSL the safer choice?

A:  TLS is a newer and more secure version of SSL.

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