Blockchain for SSL certificates: A transparent and secure system

Blockchain technology enables a decentralized and secure system to issue, revoke and renew digital certificates. So, start securing SSL certifications with Blockchain-based technology for higher transparency and user trust.

SSL certificates power the security of websites through cryptographic encryptions. It uses asymmetric and symmetric encryptions to help create a secure session between the browser and server. The SSL certification process relies on the certificate authority(CA). However, every organization does not follow the standard SSL certification process, and many prefer self-signed certificates.

Self-signed are digital certificates that do not need vetting from CA. So, there is no source of trust. Self-signed certificates are plagued with problems like,

  • Fake SSLs
  • Insufficient vetting by some CAs
  • Lack of transparency

So, what’s the way ahead for SSL certificates?

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Blockchain is one technology synonymous with transparency. It is already democratizing financial transactions worldwide. For example, the global spending on Blockchain solutions was $6.6 billion in 2021.

It is expected to reach a whopping $9 billion by 2024. So, here is a comprehensive take on whether Blockchain technology is the future of SSL certificates or not. Let’s first understand the fundamentals of Blockchain.

Blockchain: A new security frontier!

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According to Delloite, Blockchain is a type of database recording transactions. However, the twist in the tale is its openness. Each transaction is copied to all the computers present in the network. This is why Blockchain is also known as a distributed ledger.

A block consists of,

  • Header- It includes metadata like reference number for every block, timestamp of block creation, and link to the previous block
  • Content can be anything from a recorded transaction to digital assets or even a digital signature.

Each new block has a link to previous blocks. It completes a chain of linked blocks providing complete access to transaction history. One of the significant aspects of Blockchain technology is scalability. While traditional security systems overwhelm due to the increased number of users, Blockchain has become far more secure and robust.

Some of the critical components of Blockchain are,

  • Distributed ledger- It is a distributed record of immutable transactions maintained by all the participants in the network. Every transaction is recorded once, and there is no duplication. Each transaction is also visible to all the network participants.
  • Immutable records- All the transactions recorded are irreplaceable and can’t be tampered with by any participant in the network. If there is an error, the transaction is not replaced, but a new one is recorded, and both are visible.
  • Smart contracts are rules stored in the blockchain that is executed automatically. Smart contracts enable the exchange of data, funds, or other assets under a prescribed set of rules.

Blockchain has several critical benefits like,

  • Decentralized architecture provides enhanced governance for security systems.
  • There is no single source for failure leading to consistent performance
  • Higher trust among the users as each person in the network has access to all the transactions
  • Better data security as there is no tampering with the information or records
  • The immutability of historical records allows access to events at any point in time.

So, there is no denying that Blockchain technology inherently brings many critical advantages to security systems. But how does it help with fraud prevention and improvements in the SSL certification process?

Blockchain for SSL certificates

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Blockchain technology can help in improving transparency in the SSL certification process. In a conventional Public Key Infrastructure system, CA binds a public key with the SSL certificate after vetting the requestor. There are many different types of certificates that a CA issues.

A blockchain-based SSL certification process is efficient in fraud prevention and offers higher transparency. But, first, let’s discuss the system architecture for such a system.

Blockchain-based SSL: System architecture

In such architectures, web server publishes their certificate transactions in a single certificate blockchain. So, each time a browser asks for a digital certificate, everything from creating public critical pairs to certificate issuance and revocation is executed in blocks.

There are two types of transactions that are executed in the certificate blockchain. The first type of transaction is signed by a server using a security key pair to publish certificates regularly. Then, if a certificate expires or is updated, a new certificate is included in the next transaction.

Another type of transaction recorded in the blockchain certificate ledger is to initialize or reset the publishing key pair. When a web server is introduced into the community of other servers or certifiers, publishing or security key pair is signed. Certifiers use their publishing key pairs to sign a key pair for the new web server.

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All the certificates are labeled with DNS names and chained together. If a fraudulent certificate or security key is signed, it is easily detectable. Miners collect and verify certificate transactions to filter out fraudulent ones according to prescribed security policies.

Key benefits of using a blockchain certificate system,

  • Open access to all the certificates for certifiers means more transparency
  • Each new certification or generation of crucial pair is recorded in the ledger
  • Reduced risk of MITM attacks as every certificate needs verification from certifiers
  • Better data security due to decentralized and distributed ledger of transactions

Conclusion

With increased internet usage and awareness of cybersecurity, users will be scrutinizing your security measures. There is no denying that SSL certificates provide higher security to your websites. However, you need to have a reliable solution that supports the SSL certification system.

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