Preparing for a Security Audit: Your SSL/TLS Checklist

While SSL and TLS certificates remain an integral component of website security, a comprehensive security audit encompasses much more in today’s threat landscape. With new vulnerabilities constantly emerging, audits must inspect a breadth of controls to ensure robust protection.

Transport Layer Security (TLS) now secures most web traffic formerly protected by SSL. Though the SSL name persists, the protocol itself has been superseded to address inherent weaknesses. TLS 1.3 delivers important advances like improved speed and encryption. Still, certificates represent just one facet auditors validate.

A rigorous security audit examines multiple system layers, including:

  • Firewall rules

  • Password policies

  • Software patch levels

  • Penetration testing

  • Event log monitoring

  • Employee controls

Auditors probe all facets of security posture through interviews, scans, logging, and attempted intrusions. An enterprise-wide perspective identifies gaps vulnerable to compromise.

For example, an outdated server or application could enable an attacker to pivot deeper into the network, escalating access. Similarly, obtained passwords might grant access across systems. Holistic audits prevent such scenarios by instilling defense-in-depth.

SSL.com provides a key component of this layered protection through our identity and server certificates. However, we recognize certificates alone don’t constitute true security. That requires coordinated controls for blocking threats while enabling operations. Regular comprehensive audits demonstrate an organization’s commitment to genuine security and risk reduction.

Enforcing HTTPS with HSTS

Auditors will check for HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) headers, which enforce HTTPS in browsers by:

  • Automatically redirecting HTTP requests to HTTPS.

  • Stopping SSL stripping attacks

  • Preventing mixed content issues

HSTS bolsters SSL implementation and mitigates common attacks.

Cookie Security Settings

Auditors inspect cookie settings to protect from attacks like XSS:

  • Secure Flag – Ensures cookies are only transmitted over HTTPS.

  • HttpOnly Flag – Stops cookies from being accessed by JavaScript.

  • SameSite – Prevents sending cookies in cross-site requests.

Improper cookie configs leave websites open to theft and manipulation.

SSL/TLS Central Role in Audits

Security audits comprehensively assess systems, policies, and procedures to identify vulnerabilities before exploitation.

SSL configuration is a significant focus given threats like:

  • Data exfiltration – Outdated protocols can allow interception of passwords, messages, credit cards, health records, etc.

  • Injected malware – Unencrypted connections enable man-in-the-middle attacks to inject malware.

  • Domain impersonation – Invalid certificates facilitate phishing and brand damage.

At SSL.com
We offer a full range of SSL/TLS certificates to secure your website and digital services. Learn more about our certificate options or contact our sales team to discuss your specific needs.

Auditors fully validate complete SSL implementation across all services. This includes:

  • Cipher suites using ECDHE key exchange and AES-256 encryption.

  • Certificate validity, keys, signatures, revocation.

  • Latest TLS protocols only. No mixed content.

  • Vulnerability scans on all listening ports.

Fix any issues to strengthen security and prevent compliance failures or breaches.

SSL/TLS Audit Checklist

Reviewing these criteria is crucial when preparing for an audit:

  • Latest TLS protocols only – Disable SSLv2, SSLv3, TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1.

  • No mixed content – Eliminate any HTTP resources on HTTPS pages.

  • Valid certificates – Renew 30+ days before expiration, check signatures and revocation.

  • Secure cookies set – HttpOnly and Secure flags enabled properly.

  • Certificate inventory – Detailed centralized list of all certificates.

  • Full chain validation – Include all required intermediates.

  • Patch management – Install relevant security updates, especially SSL libraries.

  • Vulnerability monitoring – Actively scan for weak cipher suites or protocols.

Remediation Essentials

Upon receiving audit findings, quickly prioritize and address vulnerabilities:

  • Immediately fix high and medium-risk findings.

  • Develop a plan to resolve findings by priority level methodically.

  • Implement upgrades to policies, procedures, and technologies.

  • Retest to validate complete resolution.

  • Update training programs based on learnings.

  • Maintain constant communication across teams during remediation.

  • Utilize compliance frameworks to benchmark improvements.

SSL.com: Your Partner for Secure Digital Experiences

Keeping your digital platforms secure is a top priority, and regular SSL/TLS audits are crucial. These audits help identify potential risks, such as expired certificates and outdated ciphers, that can lead to data theft and malware. Swift remediation of these issues encourages continuous improvement.

At SSL.com, our team of experts highly recommends regular audits to maintain protection. We have extensive experience delivering customized SSL/TLS certificates to meet your security requirements. Additionally, we offer guidance and knowledge to assist you in making informed decisions. We are committed to ensuring a safe and reliable internet. By partnering with SSL.com, you can rest assured that your digital platforms are secure, allowing you to focus on your business and help you achieve success and satisfaction.

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