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SSL Configuration Analysis: What Is It? Why Does It Matter?

Anyone interested in starting doing business online should have a few essential things ready before rushing head-on, including a memorable name and a potentially profitable business model. But there's more. Since you'd be operating over the World Wide Web where all sorts of shady characters are lurking, it is vital to have a proper SSL certificate set up before you launch your site.

Still, even then, your work is not done. SSL certificates have their own configurations and possible flaws, and we're not just talking about the context of your prospective website but also the certificate of the pages your employees are likely to interact with daily or these of domains connected to you.

So, how can you be more aware and avoid online dangers? This can be done by subjecting target pages to an SSL configuration analysis. For those not so familiar with the technique we're going to clarify it and its importance in this post.

SSL Configuration Analysis: A Test of Domain Safety

To begin with, why is an SSL certificate necessary? The reason is that it gives your site protection through 256-bit encryption — making it harder for hackers to intercept or much less make sense of the data going in and out of your site because they'd be written using encrypted coding.

However, it's critical to make sure there are no issues in the SSL configurations such that target websites are really safe. Here's where an SSL configuration analysis comes in.

An SSL configuration analysis is a process for authenticating a domain's SSL connection and testing if it is configured in such a way that makes it free from the common issues resulting in vulnerabilities to threats. You can learn all about these risks by reading our blog post called SSL Configuration Analysis API: 5 Cyber Threats It Can Protect You From.

What Can You Learn from an SSL Configuration Analysis?

The analysis allows getting information on several crucial security aspects and can be performed using a threat intelligence platform through an SSL Configuration Analysis API. Multiple parameters are checked during the process, but there are five things that you need to pay particular attention to:

Self-signed certificates – First of all, a trustworthy SSL certificate should be issued by a licensed Certificate Authority. This shows impartiality and means that it matches industry standards. So when you come across an SSL certificate that was signed by the website itself, consider it a flaming red flag.

Validity period – Just like food items with expiration dates, SSL certificates are valid within a certain period and lose effect after that. Check the date and time of the start and end of certificates' validity period, and be particularly careful when you see recent certificates as malicious third parties often acquire these.

Hostname validation – Verify the certificate's Common Name or Alternative Name fields to see if the website you are checking is also the one that's referenced there. You cannot trust something that claims to be one thing but appears not to be so in the records.

Vulnerability check – This test looks into such details as dangerous extensions such as the Heartbeat extension, questionable HTTPS connections, and more. For example, if a host has an OpenSSL version, ensure if it is fixed against the Heartbeat bug. If not, the site is vulnerable to malware capable of stealing information.

Supported protocols – Does the host support deprecated or vulnerable SSL protocols? A "yes" answer means they can fall victim to the POODLE attack which, among other risks, means that hackers can hijack sessions and decrypt sensitive transactions.

* * *

They say it's better to be safe than sorry, so don't assume that a website is secure because you see the safety lock in their header. It's always better to conduct an SSL configuration analysis and use an SSL Certificate Analysis API to confirm that it's really worth your trust.

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About WhoisXML API – Whois API, Inc. (whoisxmlapi) is a big data and API company that provides domain research & monitoring, Whois, DNS, IP, and threat intelligence API, data and tools to a variety of industries.  Visit Page

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