How does an SSL Strip Work?

Since the inception of SSL, there have been a number of advancements in this field. For example, a blogging website can rely just on a DV SSL. While an organization or a banking institution will have to rely on EV and OV SSL certificates. If extra protection is needed HSTS and SSL inspection tools are implemented. Likewise, there are plenty of such examples that show that how much SSL certificates have evolved with time.

There has been a series of up gradations in every phase of SSL revolution, to keep the cybercriminals at bay. Let us now discuss SSL strip that is one of the few vulnerabilities of SSL certificates. This was pointed out by Marlinspike a renowned computer security researcher.

SSL strip is a block of code that is deployed to degrade an https to HTTP thus hampering the security quotient of the website.

How does an SSL strip works?

When an SSL strip is added to a website it diverts all the incoming traffic to a proxy server installed by the hacker. A user, as well as the browser, will never be able to detect that the traffic is getting diverted. It can be better visualised as a connection that is established between the proxy server and your computer but not with the intended web server.

How to prevent it?

The best solution to protect your website from SSL strip attacks is using SSL certificates that enable green Https bar. These attacks are more common on websites that lack https encryption once the user is logged in. So make sure that all of the web pages, pictures, files, videos are implemented on https. An OV SSL  or EV SSL should always be used and further protection can be levied with the implementation of HSTS. HSTS( HTTP strict transport security) can ensure that your site is always hosted on HTTPS and not on HTTP.

P.S: Both HTTP and HTTPS are prone to these attacks. Including SSL certificates is just a way to limit these attacks.

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