Understanding SSL/TLS Decryption For A Safer Business

Shibu has more than 25 years of experience in the field of Digital Transformation, i.e. IT, IS and Telecom, served many reputed firms through the leadership board and walking hand-in-hand with the firm since 2009.

What is SSL Decryption & its Business Benefits?
In an ideal world, data would travel over the internet without any security concerns clients would get the information they're looking for without any lag, and businesses would not worry about any malicious traffic infiltrating the network. But in reality, malicious threat actors pose serious security risks to insecure data and conduct attacks like eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle. To secure any information traveling over the internet, encryption became critical it eliminated the misuse of data and protected it, and ensured that no one but the two endpoints could understand it. However, the same encryption has become so useful that hackers are also getting into the company's networks via encrypted channels. So how can companies maintain the integrity of their data, detect malicious encrypted traffic, and secure their organization? Let's understand SSL/TLS decryption.

First, What is SSL/TLS?
Secure Sockets Layer or Transport Layer Security(SSL/TLS)is cryptographic protocols that ensure confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data between two communicating applications or computers with the help of digital certificates. Since the encrypted traffic could also be malicious, TLS decryption checks the authenticity of traffic content by decrypting, analyzing, and re-encrypting the traffic. This critical security protocol safeguards organizations against catastrophic threats like ransomware, DDoS, data exfiltration and more.

TLS works as a man-in-the-middle attack but is done in an authorized way to eliminate any malicious content in the traffic.The SSL/TLS interceptor is placed between the client and the server so all the traffic can pass through it

SSL vs.TLS - History & Evolution
Netscape introduced the first usable version of SSL—2.0 in 1995, which was quickly taken over by an advanced version 3.0 in 1996. Unfortunately, the first version never saw the light of the day due to serious security flaws. Finally, in 1999, TLS 1.0 was introduced, which replaced SSL 3.0. Though the differences between the two aren’t significant, they’re large enough that TLS 1.0 and SSL 3.0 don’t interoperate. A couple of upgrades later that focused on simplifying the process and strengthening security, in 2015, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) declared the final SSL version obsolete. In 2018, it released TLS 1.3, which is the latest version of TLS being used today.

How does TLS Inspection Work?
TLS inspection works as a man-in-the-middle attack but is done in an authorized way to eliminate any malicious content in the traffic. The SSL/TLS interceptor is placed between the client and the server so all the traffic can pass through it. It then decrypts the traffic, analyses traffic content, re-encrypts, and sends it to its final destination. Now you would wonder, "doesn't it defeat the purpose of encryption?" Initially, it does. However, SSL inspection should be done in a legitimate way and with iron-clad security protocols to eliminate internet-based threats and attacks. This is important because an increasing number of malicious threat actors are using encrypted channels to infiltrate the organizations' networks and conduct malicious crimes.

What is the Purpose of TLS Decryption?
While TLS Decryption, as we've seen, helps in eliminating encrypted malicious traffic, you may be wondering why it is so important. Today's modern infrastructure includes a growing adoption of cloud and SaaS applications, which has resulted in data being in the hands of third-party vendors such as cloud service providers(CSPs). Moreover, data is increasingly stored and accessed from multiple architectures and geographies. So with the increasing traversing of data across the internet, it's important for companies to protect their, employees', and customers' data regardless of where it's stored or accessed.

TLS Decryption provides enhanced visibility into the inbound and outbound traffic to truly analyze the exchange of information. With TLS Decryption, companies can gain greater visibility into what kind of data is inside and outside their organization. It also protects from growing malicious encrypted attacks. And finally, it strengthens the security posture of companies by adding a layer of security.

Benefits of TLS Decryption
TLS Decryption helps rule out the possibility of encrypted malicious traffic and strengthens the company's security posture. Here are a few benefits of employing an SSL/TLS interceptor:
•Detect and block malicious encrypted traffic
•Gain greater visibility of IP addresses and malicious threat actors
•Meet regulatory compliance by ensuring employees aren't sending any confidential data outside of the organization
•Monitor incoming and outgoing traffic to understand what information is going outside the organization, intentionally or accidentally, and act on it

SSL Intercept Solution from Array
The decryption of encrypted data, inspection, and re-encryption is a sensitive task that must be followed with proper security protocols and procedures to avoid unforeseen losses.

Array's SSL intercept(SSLi)acts as a proxy and takes the compute intensive task of decrypting and re-encrypting from security appliances like WAF and load balancers. This allows performance at its peak alongside tight security measures. Moreover, the white listing option ensures that sensitive information from trusted sites like banking and healthcare is not decrypted, which helps maintain regulatory compliance like HIPPA. Finally, users can centrally manage, deploy or configure all Array appliances from a centralized management platform for intuitive governance.