Encrypted Attacks

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Encrypted Attacks

Remember Luke Skywalker in the first Star Wars(technically Episode IV), when Obi Wan Kenobi puts a face shield on Luke and asks him to use the force to practice his light saber skills against a zapping hovering ball? While Luke fumbles at first, his innate Jedi skill eventually senses the zapper. Unfortunately most of us are operating like Luke without the force when it comes to cyber security, waving our light sabers around and getting zapped incessantly. We have blinders on and can’t defend what we can’t see.

And cybercriminals use this lack of visibility against us. Duplicitous threat actors are encrypting their malware payloads to cloak attacks and defeat standard security controls.

At the RSA Conference 2018 in San Francisco, SonicWall president and CEO Bill Conner spoke with TechRepublic about the rapidly changing cyber arms race and the need to properly detect and inspect encrypted traffic, which made up 68 percent of all web traffic in 2017 — a 24 percent year-over-year increase from 2016.

“In Q1, you see a dramatic increase in malware and ransomware. We’re also seeing a dramatic increase in SSL encryption, and encryption being used to carry malware,” Conner told TechRepublic.

As Conner suggested, the 2018 Cyber Threat Report highlights these challenges. Unfortunately, the threat landscape changes daily and rapidly.

According to SonicWALL, in the first quarter of 2018 alone, the average customer faced:

  • 7,739 malware attacks (151 percent increase over Q1 2017)
  • 173 ransomware attacks (226 percent increase over Q1 2017)
  • 335 encrypted threats (403 percent increase over Q1 2017)

By investing in updated solutions, and enabling SSL/TLS inspection capabilities, organizations can have the best of both security and performance. Many next-generation firewalls — like the SonicWall NSa series, for example — include DPI-SSL capabilities. However, these critical controls aren’t always activated or implemented properly, so it’s important to discuss with your managed security services provider that you have the ability to decrypt and inspect SSL and TLS traffic.

Stopping encrypted cyber attacks
Encrypted threats will defeat even the most robust firewall if it’s not properly using deep packet inspection of SSL and TLS, often known as DPI-SSL.

If you choose not to inspect encrypted traffic — or if your firewall is limited in its ability to do so — you are truly missing a critical value of your firewall.

It is possible for organizations to enjoy the security benefits of SSL/TLS encryption without providing a hidden tunnel for attackers.

If you need assistance with encryption, a robust firewall and a strong cyber security solution, contact EnhancedTECH at 714-970-9330 or at sales@enhancedtech.com.

Samantha Keller

Samantha Keller

Director of Marketing and PR at EnhancedTECH
Samantha Keller (AKA Sam) is a published author, tech-blogger, event-planner and mother of three fabulous humans. Samantha has worked in the IT field for the last fifteen years, intertwining a freelance writing career along with technology sales, events and marketing. She began working for EnhancedTECH ten years ago after earning her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and attending Fuller Seminary. She is a lover of kickboxing, extra-strong coffee, and Wolfpack football.Her regular blog columns feature upcoming tech trends, cybersecurity tips, and practical solutions geared towards enhancing your business through technology.
Samantha Keller
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