A disection of an HTTPS connection

12 06 2009

Jeff Moser wrote a very interesting blog post on how the HTTPS connection works.


In the 220 milliseconds that flew by, a lot of interesting stuff happened to make Firefox change the address bar color and put a lock in the lower right corner. With the help of Wireshark, my favorite network tool, and a slightly modified debug build of Firefox, we can see exactly what’s going on.

By agreement of RFC 2818, Firefox knew that “https” meant it should connect to port 443 at Amazon.com:

Most people associate HTTPS with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which was created by Netscape in the mid 90’s. This is becoming less true over time. As Netscape lost market share, SSL’s maintenance moved to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The first post-Netscape version was re-branded as Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 which was released in January 1999. It’s rare to see true “SSL” traffic given that TLS has been around for 10 years.

Here’s the link to the full article:
The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection