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Many of us get confused when talking about SSH Vs. SSL protocols. It happens because both of these protocols rely on public key cryptography. But both of these protocols SSL and SSH are different. One of the main differences that sets them apart is how both of these protocols operate.
SSL works on public key infrastructure (PKI). PKI is a framework that involves Certificate Authorities (CAs), which issue a digital certificate that establishes trust between two parties. But it’s not the case when considering the SSH protocol. SSH protocol does not use digital certificates; instead, it requires private and public keys, commonly known as SSH keys, to establish a secure connection.
Other notable dissimilarities between these two protocols come into light when you notice the functionality each protocol provides. SSH protocol allows you to log in securely to another computer (remote machine) by creating a secure tunnel. This secure tunnel is created once the authentication of the user is successful. The main functionality of SSL protocol is to encrypt data in transmission between a client (browser) and a server, and it does not require any authentication from the user.
In this article, we will examine SSL vs SSH in great depth. And for a better understanding of the topic (SSH vs SSL), let’s explore the technical difference between these two protocols in a tabular format. Here’s the table:
|Cryptographic Network Protocol
|Connects you to a remote machine to issue commands securely.
|It lets you securely transmit data between a server and a client (browser).
|Username/Password or SSH Key
|To implement this protocol, SSH software should be installed on both server and client.
|To implement this protocol, an SSL certificate is needed on the server side.
Secure Shell (SSH) is a type of cryptographic network protocol that allows a user to connect or communicate with a remote computer securely. SSH protocol is for securing computer networks.
Secure Shell protocol was initially developed or created for UNIX-based computers but is now available on Windows. The primary purpose of developing this protocol was to find a replacement for Telnet and other Unix shell protocols, such as Berkeley Remote Shell (rsh), which were quite insecure as they were transferring data as plain text, and no encryption was done.
The reason why the SSH protocol is quite secure and preferred over its predecessors is that the SSH protocol encrypts the data in transmission and protects it from network snooping attacks while allowing secure logins by requiring client authentication.
To accomplish all this, SSH creates an SSH tunnel between two remote computers. And once this tunnel is established, the remote system shell is visible, and the shell commands can be safely transmitted or sent across the connection (as they are in encrypted format); this process is commonly known as SSH handshake.
To understand the working of SSH protocol in a better way, let’s review its working in the form of multiple steps.
Note: A session key is like a symmetric key that performs both the operations: encryption and decryption. But always remember that this key is only valid for one session.
There are literally “n” number of reasons for using the SSH protocol. Let’s explore some of the most prominent ones, such as:
The full form of SSL is Secure Socket Layer. SSL protocol is a common security protocol responsible for protecting data transmission between two parties, such as a web browser and a server. This protocol uses encryption and authentication to accomplish this task.
By using digital certificates and PKI, SSL is able to create encrypted HTTPS connections. Once the SSL connection is created, you can securely transmit sensitive information, such as credit card details and personal information, without worrying about man-in-the-middle attacks or eavesdropping.
People often use both of these terms – SSL and TLS, interchangeably, and this could happen because of any of the two reasons mentioned below:
It doesn’t matter what’s the reason for understanding both terms to be the same, but it’s not 100% true or correct. Let me take a moment to clear this myth. TLS is an upgraded version of SSL 3.0 and can provide more security against modern vulnerabilities and cyber attacks.
This is one of the reasons that many browsers are opting for either TLS 1.2 or 1.3. TLS 1.2 provides advanced encryption functions or techniques, such as ECC and AEAD cipher blocks. Whereas TLS 1.3 consists of all the features provided by TLS 1.2 and, in addition, it also provides downgrade attack prevention. So, stop searching for SSH vs TLS, if your aim is to get exact information regarding SSH vs SSL.
To understand the working of SSL protocol in a better way, let’s review its working in the form of multiple steps.
There are a vast number of reasons for using SSH protocol. Let’s explore some of the most prominent ones, such as:
SSH, or Secure Shell, is quite similar to SSL in a way that both of these protocols are PKI based, and both form encrypted communication tunnels. But, even though there are various differences between both of these protocols, such as:
To cut a long story short, SSL is for securing internet connections between websites and their visitors; SSH is for running commands via remote access.