The Dark Side Of SSL Encryption

September 28, 2017 | By Comodo SSL

SSL which stands for Secure Sockets Layer offers websites and the users who interact with them much-needed online protection. Protection from impersonation (data theft). Protection from data interception or SSL sniffing (man-in-the-middle attacks). These are two major types of attacks carried out by hackers while trying to exploit the users of various websites and the websites themselves.

Risks Posed By SSL Encrypted Traffic

Yes, SSL offers protection against the above-stated attacks on various websites (which have been encrypted by this security technology that makes use of the https protocol). But there are downsides to using this SSL technology as well. The most significant downside – apart from slowing down website performance – is that the strong encryption used to protect the connection between a web server and the clients (browsers or users) can make this connection impervious to various network security tools you may be using for malware detection.

As a result, if a malware has been injected into your SSL encrypted connection by hackers, your network security tools won’t be able to detect it since they become blind to the malware as the connection has been encrypted with SSL. Because of this reason, SSL encryption technology has unwittingly given rise to a new form of security threat.

SSL Paves Way for SSL Encrypted Attacks

After this SSL vulnerability was discovered, hackers have started using it to the fullest. They inject malware into these SSL connections and leave it wedged between its impenetrable walls and thus easily escape the surveillance carried out by various network security tools you may be using. And if you leave these affected SSL connections unchecked, they may, in the longer run, eventually become breeding grounds for various other malware as well.

So is there a solution to this problem? Fortunately, there is. The solution is provided by SSL Inspection tools.

What Are SSL Inspection Tools? How Do They Help?

To put it in plain or non-technical terms, the logical way of finding out what’s inside of something that is not transparent enough is to open it up and check the contents, right? SSL inspection tools do the same to SSL encrypted connections which are impervious to various network security tools.

But opening up an encrypted connection is not that easy. Since, well, because it has been encrypted. You have to decrypt it first – to check what’s inside the connection – and then re-encrypt it to ensure SSL encryption is enabled again for the website. This is exactly what SSL inspection tools do. And they can do it from time to time to ensure you SSL connection does not become a breeding ground for malware.

But SSL Inspection Includes Complications

SSL inspection, although it sounds like the perfect tool (and it is) for combating SSL encrypted attacks, is hard to implement. Chiefly because they bear the responsibility of creating a new SSL session with the client in order to decrypt as well as re-encrypt the SSL connection; in other words, in order to inspect the SSL connection.

Technically speaking, such decryption and encryption involve issuing SSL certificates ‘on the fly’. Which in turn implies you need a Certificate Authority (CA) to carry this out. Now the question is whether you can use the same Certificate Authority who issued the SSL Certificate to you in the first place or an entirely new one?

This depends entirely upon whether your SSL provider supports SSL inspection tools as well or not. In the case of Comodo SSL provider, it does with its SecureBox application that comes equipped with SSL inspection capabilities. If this is the case for you, well and good. Otherwise, you have to find a dedicated CA for issuing SSL certificates on the fly once your SSL connection has been examined.

Tools Like Comodo SecureBox Can Ease The SSL Inspection Process

Comodo SecureBox which comes equipped with SSL inspection capability is not only good at examining SSL connections encrypted by Comodo SSL certificates but can also effectively inspect SSL connections encrypted by other reputed CA(s) as well. Comodo SecureBox places itself between the client and your web browser and helps enterprises carry out a full-fledged SSL inspection which ensures no malware is taking advantage of your SSL encrypted connection.

A Final Word:

We are shifting towards a fully-encrypted online world. Every website which wants credibility is making use of the https protocol. Therefore more and more hackers are going to target SSL encryption for injecting their malware. And free SSL certificates are only making matters worse. Therefore equip your networks using SSL inspection tools to ensure that encrypted connection you are using is inspected from time to time.

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Posted in SSL,Technology

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