SSL inspection in smartphones: Intro
We can use Smartphones to inspect SSL-encrypted traffic. The problem with this is that if you have a firewall or any other device between your server and the Smartphone, they will see one encrypted connection and one unencrypted connection. You might not know what type of data is being sent over an SSL-encrypted connection, so it makes sense to look at both sides of the equation! If we know how SSL works, we can also understand how inspecting it works.
First, let’s understand what SSL inspection is and how it works.
What is SSL Inspection?
Internet communication between the client and server is intercepted using SSL/TLS Inspection or HTTPS Interception. Smartphones can carry out receiver-to-sender (sender-to-reciever) interception—the same technique used in man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks—without the consent of both parties.
Now, it may appear at first glance that SSL Inspection defeats the goal for which HTTPS/SSL was developed. But it’s more complicated than that.
Everyone knows that SSL/TLS encryption aids in the protection of sensitive data (like passwords and credit card details). We are shielded from data tampering and eavesdropping by converting every single bit of data into an unintelligible format.
Smartphones may encrypt traffic and conceal malicious content alongside your legitimate data. Additionally, because it is encrypted, standard security measures cannot detect it, allowing it to cause the harm it intended. Malware attacks using SSL have increased frequency, and 37% of malware now uses HTTPS.
Malware is one type of potentially harmful content that SSL Inspection is *intended to inspect* and filter out. Full SSL Inspection or Deep SSL Inspection are two terms used to describe this type of inspection or interception. You can use it to scan for viruses, filter websites, email, and more. An interceptor, also known as a “middlebox,” which sits in the middle and performs both inspection and interception, is a smartphone.
How does SSL Inspection work?
SSL Inspection or HTTPS Interception is a man-in-the-middle attack that is carried out to weed out malicious content, to put it simply. As we have seen, an interceptor performs SSL Inspection or TLS Interception. All traffic passes through this interceptor, which is located between the client and the server.
The inspector intercepts, decrypts and scans all traffic when the connection is established over HTTPS. The interceptor connects to the web server using SSL first. Here, it examines the data and decrypts it. It establishes another SSL connection with the client after the scanning is complete (browser). In this manner, the data is delivered to the client in its original, encrypted form.
An overview of the SSL Inspection procedure for incoming traffic is given below:
- After intercepting incoming traffic, the middlebox first decrypts HTTPS sessions between clients and servers.
- After decrypting the traffic, the middlebox examines the content by running antivirus checks, web filtering, etc.
- The traffic is then forwarded to the web server after being encrypted by the interceptor.
Benefits of SSL Inspection
Implementing SSL inspection helps today’s organizations keep their end users, customers, and data safe, with the ability to:
- Prevent data breaches by finding hidden malware and stopping hackers from sneaking past defenses
- See and understand what employees send outside the organization, intentionally or accidentally.
- Meet regulatory compliance requirements, ensuring employees aren’t putting confidential data at risk.
Good to know facts on SSL inspection in smartphones.
SSL encrypted traffic, which encrypts the data in transit using TLS or secure sockets layer, can be inspected with a security product at the gateway where all data goes in and out of the network.
This is because SSL encryption provides an additional layer of security, which helps protect against eavesdropping on network traffic. The HTTPS protocol also uses digitally signed certificates by trusted authorities to authenticate your identity, ensuring that only you can access your sensitive information.
To inspect SSL-encrypted packets, we need to decrypt them first. What happens is we place a root certificate in each Smartphone. Then the traffic is decrypted with that certificate and can be scanned for viruses, malware and other exploits.
The root certificate is a trusted third-party certificate that all Smartphones trust to decrypt traffic encrypted with their server’s private key, which means they can use it on Smartphones (not just ones running Chrome). It’s like having an ID card that everyone has access to when going through security checkpoints at airports or government buildings; you show your ID card and then get let through without being asked if everything looks okay on your end too!
The data is encrypted first and then decrypted at the gateway. Then it gets re-encrypted and sent on its way.
Meanings of acronyms used in the article
|HTTPS||Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure|
|SSL||Secure Sockets Layer|
|TLS||Transport Layer Security|
As you can see, there are many ways to inspect SSL-encrypted traffic. Some of these methods may be more effective, depending on what you’re looking for and who’s doing the inspection.
Photo Credits : Pexels.com
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