How Does SSL Decryption Work?

How Does SSL Decryption Work?

How Does SSL Decryption Work? – Before we get into the topic, lets learn some basics of this topic.

What is SSL decryption?

The internet is a necessary component of any company. Most data, from cloud apps, to file sharing and email to cloud platforms like AWS and Azure, will pass across the internet at some point. Much of this information is private and sensitive. Browsers and cloud apps utilize encryption to protect data as it travels across the internet. When you connect to websites, an encrypted connection is formed between your browser and the website (cloud application).

While this encryption protects your sensitive data from prying eyes, it’s also critical to reduce risk in this traffic. Advanced threats and malware are routinely sent across encrypted networks. SSL decryption comes into play here. Organizations can use SSL decryption to crack open encrypted traffic and investigate its contents. After that, the data is re-encrypted and sent on its way. However, examining encrypted traffic is difficult and necessitates the use of a proxy architecture.

It is SSL or TLS? What’s the deal?

The cryptographic protocols Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) govern the encryption and transport of data between devices (clients) and destination sites (servers).

SSL was created by Netscape in 1995 and given to the public as version 2.0. TLS 1.0 was released in 1999 and was based on SSL version 3.0. TLS 1.2 is now the most widely used standard in the business, with TLS 1.3 on the horizon.

Although SSL and TLS are separate implementations of the protocol, the industry has embraced the word “SSL” to refer to encryption, and we will use it in this description as well.

Why it’s important to inspect SSL traffic?

SSL inspection is useful when a business wants to know what its employees are sending outside of the organization, in addition to discovering malware in encrypted traffic and preventing hackers from getting past your security engines. SSL inspection is also required for compliance to guarantee that employees are not jeopardizing the organization’s sensitive data. To protect an enterprise’s security, a multilayer defense-in-depth strategy that fully supports SSL inspection is required.

In the past six months of 2018, 1.7 million threats were detected in encrypted communications, while phishing attacks using SSL increased 400% over 2017.

How do organizations inspect encrypted traffic?

Although encrypted traffic accounts for the majority of traffic, many businesses only verify a portion of it, leaving traffic from CDNs and select “trusted” sites uninspected. However, because web pages are not static, this can be dangerous. They are presented with tailored material that may include hundreds of things gathered from various sources. Regardless of the source, each object offers a potential threat and should be treated with caution.

Malware creators, on the other hand, use encryption to conceal their exploits. It’s become relatively simple (and inexpensive!) to obtain a valid SSL certificate, and Zscaler researchers have shown that more than half of all malware is hidden in encrypted communications. Allowing encrypted traffic to pass unnoticed exposes you to an increasing number of possible dangers.

So, why would anyone want to let encrypted traffic pass via inspection engines? The solution is simple: decrypting, inspecting, and re-encrypting SSL traffic takes a lot of computing cycles, and the performance impact on a company’s infrastructure can be disastrous. Companies can’t afford to shut down their operations and processes, so they have no choice but to rely on appliances that can’t keep up with processing demands or traffic.

The table below lists the most prevalent methods for inspecting SSL traffic as well as their main considerations.