Well, although the question of whether blockchain can replace SSL certificates is debatable one, there is evidence to prove that blockchain has no capabilities to solve the problems that SSL certificate can solve. So the answer to this question is NO. This article will explain the concept of blockchain and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates and give out the reasons as to why blockchain cannot replace SSL certificates.
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL Certificate)
SSL Certificate is not a new term in the technology world. Netscape first introduced it in 1994. SSL certificates have ever since been a critical player in the security of the most website and e-commerce stores.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate is the data file that is usually installed onto web browsers. An SSL certificate plays the role of allowing for a secure connection between web browsers (client) and the webserver. It achieves this by establishing encrypted links.
By encrypting the data that are being transferred, SSL certificates protect the websites and e-commerce stores from fraudulent activities that hackers might undertake whenever they get hold of the information. The reason for this is because the encrypted data goes through an undeciphered form, and it will be hard to establish its meaning.
To websites and E-commerce stores, an SSL certificate plays essential roles. They encrypt crucial data, such as credit card details and transactions. They can also secure data transfers, act as hosts to ensure social media websites and also process logins. To achieve this, the SSL certificate makes use of a Cryptographic Key that provides critical validation of data sender and receivers. The cryptographic key will detail the server name, domain name, hostname, company name and location.
A majority of SSL certificates also come with Transport Layer Security protocol that adds an extra security layer.
Trusted Certificate Authorities only do issuance of SSL certificates. SSL certificates have for a long time, been instrumental in securing websites and has enabled a secure exchange of data. However, in the recent past, many sites have experienced an increase in the cases of SSL certificate vulnerabilities that have created loopholes for hackers to steal vital information.
Technology specialists have, in turn, started to consider blockchain as a perfect replacement of SSL certificates. But does can blockchain supersede SSL certificates in creating complete security for websites?
- Blockchain Technology
In some ways, blockchain technology is similar to Secure Socket Layer certificates. Just like SSL certificates, blockchain technology also plays a critical role in authentication and securing of digital transactions. The two are essential layers of security in cybersecurity.
Blockchain technology gained its popularity due to the rise in the prices of bitcoins. The most common definition of blockchain is ‘distributed and decentralized public ledger.’ It is used to store digital information into a public database. An example of digital information that may be stored in the date, the time and the amount of purchase from Amazon. The record is made without any identifying information by using a distinctive digital signature.
Unlike SSL certificates, the roles played by blockchain are far from just securing digital transactions.
To authenticate and secure digital transactions, blockchain uses a Blockchain Originated Certificate of Authenticity that allows users to transfer files across websites safely. This is the only similarity that exists between blockchain and SSL certificates.
Blockchain Originated Certificate of Authenticity uses sophisticated techniques in protecting the private information of the users. It also does not integrate the Public Key Infrastructure as in the case of SSL certificates. The level of security that is provided by blockchain technology is much far from asymmetric encryption and caching of public keys that is for the case of SSL certificates.
- Past Loopholes That Come With Secure Socket Layer Certificates
Different versions of SSL certificates, especially the earlier versions that were released, also had several faults. For instance, SSL 2.0, which was the first version of the SSL certificate that was issued in 1995, had a weak MAC construction that made use of an MD5 hash function. This made it very vulnerable for several cyber-attacks.
Another perfect example is the SSL 3.0 that was released in 1996. This version had a fragile derivation process that entirely depended on the MD5 Hash function. This made it more vulnerable and less collision-resistant. The next versions of SSL certificates had these loopholes sealed.
- Why blockchain cannot Replace SSL Certificate despite the flaws exhibited by SSL certificates
From the susceptibilities that SSL certificates have presented, FinTech experts now suggest that blockchain is the perfect replacement for SSL certificates. This is despite the alarmingly high rate of insecurities that come with blockchain technology. It is for the fact that blockchain technology brings forth more security features than those brought in by SSL certificates.
However, blockchain does not hold what it should beat SSL certificates in the world of cybersecurity. Why is this so? First and foremost, blockchain does not have the human touch that is much needed to verify whether or not a user is legitimate.
Secondly, blockchain technology has got a centralized trust, unlike secured Socket Layer, which has a trust established in different Certificate Authorities (CA). Blockchain technology thus eliminates the human factor from digital transactions that are seen in SSL certificates.
This is a significant setback that comes with blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology does not solve the problem that a Secure Socket Layer certificate usually solves. SSL certificates try to match up the names and details of a business and a person, public keys and the domain names. Doing this requires some level of real-life facts, a feature that is represented by the Secure Socket Layer Certificate.
SSL certificates have, for a long time, been used to provide security and privacy over the internet. However, they have depicted security flaws that put the user under a high threat of cyber espionage. Cybersecurity experts have then suggested blockchain technology to be a replacement. However, blockchain still does not have the human touch that is required to verify the legitimacy users. This fact alone disqualifies it to be a replacement of SSL certificates.