How Everyone Can Implement SSL Decryption & Inspection

Since 2011, when Google announced it was switching to Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) by default, there has been a rapid increase in Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) sessions.

Initially, SSL sessions were reserved for only important traffic, where personal, financial or sensitive data was transferred. Now, it seems we can’t receive news or perform a simple search without an encrypted session.

In 2014 and 2015, SSL sessions accounted for about 52 percent of internet traffic. As cloud adoption grew, so did the SSL sessions. By 2017, SSL accounted for 68 percent of all internet traffic. Currently, SonicWall has seen encrypted traffic at almost 70 percent of the total traffic on the internet.

Secure sessions demonstrate that internet users are understanding and embracing session security and privacy. Unfortunately, as SSL sessions have increased, so have encrypted attacks. So far in 2018, SonicWall has seen a 275 percent increase of encrypted attacks since 2017. You find more numbers in the mid-year update of the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report.

What is DPI-SSL?

The modern cyber threat landscape requires a defense-in-depth posture, which includes SSL decryption capabilities to help organizations proactively use deep packet inspection of SSL (DPI-SSL) to block encrypted attacks.

However, even firewall vendors that claim to offer SSL decryption and inspection may not have the processing power to handle the volume of SSL traffic moving across a network today.

DPI-SSL extends SonicWall’s Deep Packet Inspection technology to inspect encrypted HTTPS and SSL/TLS traffic. The traffic is decrypted transparently, scanned for threats, re-encrypted and sent along to its destination if no threats or vulnerabilities are found.

Available on all SonicWall next-generation firewalls (Generation 6 or newer), DPI-SSL technology provides additional security, application control, and data leakage prevention for analyzing encrypted HTTPS and other SSL-based traffic.

It is important to have a secure and simple setup that minimizes configuration overhead and complexity. There are two primary paths for implementing DPI-SSL.

Option 1: Remote Implementation

Enabling DPI-SSL can sometimes be complex. Diverse sites and programs use certificates differently, some of which may be affected by DPI-SSL capabilities.

To confirm you have DPI-SSL implemented properly, leverage the SonicWall DPI-SSL Remote Implementation Service to ensure seamless and effective implementation of SonicWall DPI-SSL services.

The Remote Implementation Service for SonicWall DPI-SSL deploys and integrates the product into your environment within 10 business days. This service is delivered by Advanced Services Partners who have completed training and demonstrated expertise in DPI-SSL implementation and configuration.

Option 2: Leverage Easy-to-Use Guidance

For those considering in-house implementation, SonicWall also provides a number of knowledge base (KB) articles and resources that walk you through the DPI-SSL implementation process. Some of the most popular include:

These KBs, and others found within SonicWall’s support section or through the DPI-SSL Remote Implementation Service, ensure every type of user or organization has the resources  to properly activate DPI-SSL within their infrastructure to mitigate encrypted cyberattacks.

For additional guidance, watch “Initial DPI-SSL Configuration,” a popular SonicWall Firewall Series Tutorial.

DPI-SSL Adoption

Thankfully, SonicWall is witnessing gradual adoption of DPI-SSL add-on services. To best protect your environment, pair DPI-SSL capabilities with the Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) cloud sandbox, Gateway Antivirus, Content Filtering and Intrusion Protection Services (IPS). All available in the SonicWall Advanced Gateway Security Suite, which delivers everything you need to protect your network from advanced cyberattacks.

Combine these services with a trusted and secure end-point protection software, such as SonicWall Capture Client, and you can provide a robust security posture that can protect devices — even when they are not behind your firewall.

Beau Beamesderfer
Solutions Architect | SonicWall
Beau, who is based in Colorado, has worked on highly secure and complex networks and systems for 25-plus years. Previous to his position with SonicWall, Beau worked with Dell EMC Professional Services as a senior consultant. In that role, Beau used his expertise for on-premise and cloud systems within the enterprise platform, and also helped to secure the transition from on-premise systems to hybrid or cloud-based systems.
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