How to Prevent SSL/TLS-based Attack?

March 29, 2016 | By Editor 

Last year, the cyber community witnessed an unprecedented scale of data breach compared to the previous years. From small businesses to the U.S. Office of the Personnel Management, from Walmart to Ashley Madison, a lot of business enterprises bore the brunt of encryption breaches that cost them money and damage in reputation. The stories of high-profile breach attacks might have gone stale in the media, but the lessons from those incidents remain valuable for the infosec industry to learn from.

Security experts note that the cause of most data breaches in the recent years were not lack of security infrastructure, but the increased sophistication in cybercriminals’ hacking techniques. For example, a group of researchers who closely studied SSL/TLS cryptography in 2013 discovered a new exploit called BREACH that used compression techniques to cripple a web page’s HTTP implementation and eventually overpower its encryption. Most of the times, all hackers need is a small loophole in a network’s security chain that they can exploit.

Security exploints such as BREACH and CRIME – another security vulnerability that maims web cookies – can be prevented by making improvements in the web browser. But there are other preventive measures, discussed below, that can assure stronger gatekeeping and optimise the performance of SSL/TLS encryption.

How to Prevent Security Exploits?

1. Schedule a routine security audit and perform a risk analysis test to evaluate the weak areas and the security overhaul they need.
2. Install a host-based antivirus for pc and a next-generation firewall (NGFW) to assess the current network performance and prepare it for future security goals.
3. Use intrusion prevention system (IPS) to identify malicious clients and block the attacking system.
4. Make sure all software and patches are up-to-date against the latest threats, including IPS.
5. Divide the enterprise network into smaller, manageable zones such as LAN, WLAN or VLAN and enforce multi-factor authentication for the teams to access each other.
6. Use IPsec virtual private networks (VPN) to prevent man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
7. Devise a security policy to encompass a wider landscape of threats and address ways to implement stronger defense processes that are capable to respond to HTTPS as well as HTTP attacks.
8. Educate your employees about the risk of threat penetration through social engineering such as social media networks and phishing emails, or through other gateways like sketchy websites and risky downloads. Warn them against accepting self-signed certificates.

All the aforementioned points work in cohesion, not in isolation, to protect a network against incoming threats. Hence, the IT in corporate environments should work laterally to ensure all security parameters are being looked after and followed.

Above all, it’s important for enterprises to realize that nothing trumps human judiciousness. The users of a network are the weakest link in the chain and the smallest oversight can pave way for a disastrous outcome if all security checks are not intact.


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