Introduction of TLS 1.3 to Node.js – More Secure and Faster

TLS1.3 is more powerful than you might think. The version number gives the visuals it’s only a minor update from previous version 1.2, but that’s not quite true. It’s a major protocol update. All the techies are excited, and here we will try to explain why it is important to upgrade to TLS1.3.

Why TLS1.3 is such an improvement

It is like counterintuitive, but TLS 1.3 is a simpler protocol till now, it’s quite secure, easiest to configure, and discards sessions very quickly.

Enjoy Lightening Speed Along with Faster Load Times

It is an exciting and essential piece of information to note that TLS 1.3 allows the speeding of encrypted connections using features like Zero Round Trip Time (0-RTT) and TLS False Start. Conquer the slight overhead which received from encrypted connections, TLS 1.3 provides the best solution to increase your website performance using lightning-fast speed.

To explain in an easy term, the older version of TLS 1.2 required two roundtrips to complete a TLS handshake which was reduced to a single round-trip by the TLS 1.3. That means TLS 1.3 allows to cut down the encryption latency to almost a half, providing all the encrypted connections to enjoy better speed.

Now let’s understand details of some important changes. Which include:

1. Assured forward secrecy

Forward secrecy means that if an attacker somehow obtains the private key used for an earlier session, they still will not be able to get the content of that session. TLS 1.2 is not providing forward secrecy when using RSA key exchange, and you had to opt-in for the feature when using (EC)DH key agreement. With TLS1.3, all cipher suites facilitate forward secrecy because they use ephemeral (EC)DH key agreement for security.

2. No RSA key agreement

TLS used to support two ways to agree on a shared key to protect the data exchanged during a session: RSA, and (EC)DH. RSA key agreement has a history of bugs and as mentioned above, did not support forward secrecy. Support for RSA has been discarded from the key agreement step which is now completed with ECDH (OpenSSL doesn’t support DH). This simplifies the protocol, the cipher suites, and the handshake. Note that RSA can still be used to help validate the identity of the two parties sharing data through the session.

3. Safer Cipher Options

TLS1.2 supports few ciphers, like RC4 and DES, which are now considered very weak to be used actively. Node.js already discarded most of them in its default configuration, but they are still available and can be used if you are using TLS 1.2. TLS1.3 supports only CHACHA20, AES128, and AES256 as ciphers; they are considered strong in current time.

4. Safer cipher modes

Symmetric ciphers need to be used in “modes” which allow them to encrypt streams of data, not just single blocks. TLS1.2 uses cipher modes that were thought secure at the time of its design, but that now have a history of being successfully attacked. TLS1.3 complies only Authenticated Encryption with Additional Data), modes of cipher.


We hope that we have given you important information why you should use TLS 1.3, the benefits we can get using TLS 1.3.