SSL Certificate

Combating SSL-Borne Attacks

September 27, 2016 | By Comodo SSL

That an SSL Certificate is used to secure a website by encrypting all communication is something we have known for long. That the very same SSL Certificate is used by hackers to hide malware is something that most of us won’t yet want to believe. But, yes, this is very much true and is in fact showing an increasing trend.

Cybercriminals today use the SSL certificate as a hiding place for malware. Security experts say that by next year almost over half of the network attacks happening worldwide would be by using malware hidden in SSL certificate and encrypted traffic.  Thus it becomes imperative that you have a strategy, a well worked-out strategy, for managing traffic. Otherwise, you could turn out to be a vulnerable target to those cyber-criminals who attack by hiding malware in SSL encryption. They could thus get away with your business data or sensitive personal data, like your credit card details etc and then even rob you of your hard earned money or the reputation that you had built up over years for your business or organization.

Borne Attacks

A very interesting paradox is that though security professionals now know about the so-called ‘SSL blind spot’ and though they have now started getting armed to detect and fight malware hidden in SSL certificate-based encryption, a large percent of APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) which happen via SSL-borne malware still go undetected. On the one hand security experts analyze,  study and understand emerging trends in SSL-borne attacks while on the other hand security professionals in various companies remain under the illusion that they have done what all is needed to prevent such attacks. Their organizations still continue to get attacked by such malware and, as already said, a large percentage of SSL-borne APTs still go undetected.

So, the reality is not as bright as it seems.  We do know a lot on how SSL-borne attacks happen. We also know things about managing encrypted traffic and about identifying and thwarting SSL-borne attacks. But at the same time, it has become sort of impossible to get a clear picture of the magnitude of the security risk that encrypted traffic traveling through an enterprise is prone to. This is why lots of such attacks go undetected. Security professionals need to form a clear idea of the factors contributing to ‘blind spots’ in network security and how Encrypted Traffic Management (ETM) can be done in the most effective of manners. They need to understand how they can probe into encrypted traffic without intruding into the privacy of individuals or organizations.

Thus proper analysis and real strategic planning is what would enable us to fight effectively against malware that’s cloaked in SSL certificate-based encryption.

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