TLS/SSL Decryption: A Pillar of the Zero Trust Model by@indusface

TLS/SSL Decryption: A Pillar of the Zero Trust Model

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Indusface secures Web Applications of 2000+ global customers that integrate WAS, WAF, CDN & threat information engines.

Data encryption is effective in preventing cybercriminals and external entities from accessing business-critical data.

However, most advanced threats and malware are delivered within the encrypted traffic. Plus, threats from inside are very prevalent in the era of borderless network architectures.

This is where TLS/ SSL decryption helps.

Below this piece dives into the concept of TLS/ SSL decryption and why they play a central role the zero-trust security models.


What is TLS/SSL Decryption?

The SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and its more secure successor – TLS (Transport Layer Security) Protocols are popular cryptographic protocols that encrypt data in transit.

SSL/TLS Decryption is the process by which organizations break-open their encrypted traffic at scale, pass it through various inspection tools to inspect the content for threats, re-encrypt content, and send it back on its way. Since SSL Decryption offers deeper insight into encrypted traffic, it is also referred to as SSL Visibility.

Why is SSL Decryption Necessary?

Today, attackers are leveraging secure connections to spread malware and orchestrate advanced attacks, including network breaches, phishing, and encrypted attacks.

Data suggests that there has been a 300% surge in the instances of attackers leveraging HTTPS connections in 2020. There was also a 212% increase in secured malware traffic.

This is possible since there is only a slight chance that encrypted traffic is inspected and it is difficult to fingerprint encrypted files.

Encrypted traffic from CDNs and trusted websites typically does not get inspected. Furthermore, it is easy to procure SSL certificates -- especially domain validation certificates that are issued without elaborate verification of the entity requesting it.

So, the attackers have the leeway to do their bidding.

SSL Decryption, apart from preventing threats from external entities, also enables you to gain visibility into the actions of insiders, if they are knowingly or unknowingly putting the organization’s sensitive data at risk.

This is also necessary from a compliance perspective.

How is SSL Traffic Inspected?

SSL/TLS Decryption requires several computational cycles.

If applications were to inspect encrypted traffic themselves, it will lead to latencies, poor performance, and take a heavy toll on the organization’s infrastructure. Given the volume and scale of requests that come in, self-inspection will bring the workflows and business to a grinding halt.

That is why a dedicated, centralized SSL Decryption solution is necessary.

A dedicated SSL Decryption solution typically comprises a next-gen managed web firewall, a proxy architecture, intrusion detection systems, advanced threat detection, and malware detection, among other capabilities.

The best solutions are centralized wherein organizations have the visibility into multiple devices deployed across several locations, physical and cloud-based, through a unified management platform.

The best TLS Decryption solutions like those from Indusface offer multi-layered security that combines global threat intelligence, security posture management, threat investigation capabilities, and so on.

Such a solution offers complete and real-time visibility into the encrypted traffic and content through micro-segmentation and granular traffic control.

The best solutions offer flexibility to tune policies based on the needs and contexts for different deployments and regions.

It enforces strong user authentication, authorization, and access control policies. Since decryption of healthcare and financial data may lead to compliance challenges, the best solutions ensure organizations remain fully compliant while inspecting encrypted traffic.

Understanding Zero Trust Security Models

The Zero Trust model, as the name suggests, mandates that organizations should trust nobody and that they must always verify users.

It requires that no one in the organization/ network has unrestricted, privileged access to the network/ application/ assets.

The Zero-Trust security model always assumes that there is a breach possibility and verifies every request made to an application/ network. Instead of focusing on pocketed areas, this model extends to all parts of the digital landscape. It addresses both external and internal threats facing organizations.

This model requires advanced analytics, intelligent automation, and self-learning solutions are used to strengthen threat detection and response in combination with full visibility and centralized management of the infrastructure, networks, data, workloads, workforce, devices, and users, among others.

Role of SSL/TLS Decryption in the Zero Trust Model

The rise of encrypted traffic has made it challenging for organizations to effectively implement the Zero Trust Model. Encryption creates blind spots and hinders full visibility, enabling insiders and external entities to exploit vulnerabilities introduced.

With TLS/SSL Decryption at the center of the Zero Trust Security Model, organizations can ensure real-time visibility into even encrypted traffic. They can effectively prevent threats permeating from malicious and negligent insiders, as well as external entities.

In Short

TLS/SSL Decryption is a central pillar to the Zero Trust Security Model as it helps prevent the blind spots created by encryption, imbues visibility into the infrastructure, and helps prevent all kinds of known and emerging threats.

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by Indusface @indusface.Indusface secures Web Applications of 2000+ global customers that integrate WAS, WAF, CDN & threat information engines.
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