Volume 14, Number 5

Survey of United States Related Domains: Secure Network Protocol Analysis


DeJean Dunbar, Patrick Hill, and Yu-Ju Lin, Charleston Southern University, USA


Over time, the HTTP Protocol has undergone significant evolution. HTTP was the internet's foundation for data communication. When network security threats became prevalent, HTTPS became a widely accepted technology for assisting in a domain defense. HTTPS supported two security protocols: secure socket layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS). Additionally, the HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) protocol was included to strengthen the HTTPS protocol. Numerous cyber-attacks occurred in the United States, and many of these attacks could have been avoided simply by implementing domains with the most up-to-date HTTP security mechanisms. This study seeks to accomplish two objectives: 1. Determine the degree to which US-related domains are configured optimally for HTTP security protocol setup; 2. Create a generic scoring system for a domain's network security based on the following factors: SSL version, TLS version, and presence of HSTS to easily determine where a domain stands. We found through our analysis and scoring system incorporation that US-related domains showed a positive trend for secure network protocol setup, but there is still room for improvement. In order to safeguard unwanted cyber-attacks, current HTTPS domains need to be extensively investigated to identify if they possess lower version protocol support. Due to the infrequent occurrence of HSTS in the evaluated domains, the computer science community necessitates further HSTS education.


Network Protocols, HTTP Strict Transport Security, scoring benchmark, domain analysis, survey.