SSL Change Cipher Spec Protocol


The SSL Change Cipher Spec Protocol is part of the Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. A cipher is an encryption method, and the Change Cipher Spec defines the details of the encryption system to be used in the session.


  • The Change Cipher Spec protocol is a subprotocol of SSL. It is one of three stages of establishing a session. These handshaking procedures are used to establish a session or to resume a suspended session.


  • The first handshaking subprotocol is "Handshake." The second subprotocol is the Change Cipher Spec protocol. Based on the information passed in the handshaking phase, one of the two sides sends a Change Cipher Spec message to indicate that a new key should be used for the remainder of the session. The remaining subprotocol is the Alert protocol.


  • SSL has been replaced by the Transport Layer Security, or TLS, protocol. TLS uses the same method of Change Cypher Spec. SSL is a generic term for both SSL and TLS. Although people still use the term SSL, the technology they are talking about is TLS.


  • Photo Credit spam zapper image by Robert Young from
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