Data exfiltration refers to the unauthorized transfer of sensitive data from a computer or network. SSL/TLS encryption can secure data in transit, but it can also be used to hide malicious activity. SSL/TLS inspection on endpoints allows organizations to decrypt and examine encrypted traffic for potential threats, ensuring that no sensitive information leaves the network without detection.
Preparing for SSL/TLS Inspection
Before configuring SSL/TLS inspection on endpoints, it’s crucial to understand the legal and privacy implications. Ensure that your organization complies with all relevant laws and regulations regarding privacy and data security.
- Set up a Certificate Authority (CA): A trusted CA is required to issue certificates used in the inspection process.
- Endpoint Protection Software: Choose a solution that supports SSL/TLS inspection.
- Network Topology Review: Understand how traffic flows through your network to place the inspection appliances appropriately.
- Legal Compliance: Obtain any necessary permissions and ensure that regulations around privacy and data protection are met.
Configuring the Certificate Authority
- Install the CA Certificate on Endpoints:
- Distribute the Root CA certificate to all endpoints.
- Use a Group Policy for Windows devices or a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution for other devices.
- Configure Trust for the CA:
- Set systems to trust the CA certificate for SSL/TLS inspection.
- Ensure that the certificate is marked as trusted for identifying websites.
Installing and Setting Up Endpoint Protection Software
Choose a Solution
- Research and select endpoint protection software with SSL/TLS inspection capabilities.
Install the Software
- Deploy the software on all endpoints in the network.
- Ensure that it runs with sufficient permissions to conduct network inspections.
Configure SSL/TLS Inspection Settings
- Enable SSL/TLS inspection within the software settings.
- Adjust scanning levels to balance between security and performance.
- Set up rules for inspecting or bypassing traffic based on URLs, categories, or risk levels.
- Ensure that the endpoint software intercepts SSL/TLS traffic and re-encrypts it using the CA certificate.
Configuring Your Network
Define Inspection Zones
- Identify where decrypted traffic should be inspected within your network.
- Configure specific VLANs or network segments for inspection.
Setup Inline or Proxy-Based Inspection
- Inline Deployment:
- Place the inspection device directly in the path of network traffic.
- Configure it to decrypt, inspect, and re-encrypt traffic in real time.
- Proxy-Based Deployment:
- Route traffic through a proxy server that performs SSL/TLS inspection.
- Configure end-user devices to recognize the proxy as a valid intermediary.
Policy Configuration and Exceptions
Define Inspection Policies
- Create comprehensive policies for which types of traffic must be inspected.
- Establish clear rules for dealing with potential threats detected during inspection.
- Identify legitimate encrypted traffic that can bypass inspection to ensure privacy and compliance.
- Allow trusted applications or services to communicate without interception based on security certificates or domain names.
Continuous Monitoring and Updating
Monitor SSL/TLS Traffic
- Set up logging and alerting for SSL/TLS inspection events.
- Use monitoring tools to observe the effectiveness of the inspection process.
Maintain Certificate and Software Integrity
- Keep the CA certificate and endpoint protection software up to date.
- Regularly review and renew certificates to prevent expiration or compromise.
Establish Response Protocols
- Develop an incident response plan that involves containment, evaluation, mitigation, and reporting for detected threats.
- Educate IT staff to respond to security incidents uncovered by SSL/TLS inspection.
- Ensure that teams understand proper data handling and incident reporting procedures.
Legal and Compliance Review
- Regularly reassess your SSL/TLS inspection setup for compliance with industry standards and privacy laws.
- Document all processes and maintain transparency with users about data inspection practices.
In conclusion, implementing SSL/TLS inspection requires thorough planning, careful policy configuration, and ongoing management. By balancing the need for security with privacy considerations, you can effectively configure SSL/TLS inspection to protect against data exfiltration while maintaining trust and legal compliance.