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29 June 2020

SSL Orchestrator (SSLO)



I didn’t know anything about Network Packet Broker (NPB) till I took a webinar about Gigamon and I understood all the uses cases where this product fits. It was nearly one year ago. Later on, Ariadnex organized talks in Mérida (Spain) to speak about NPB. Since then, I’ve read about NPBs. Gigamon and FireEye are two NPB manufacturers which are able to decrypt SSL traffic, redirect it, and encrypt it again. They work from Layer 1 to Layer 7. However, there is another product, similar to NPBs, which works from layer 2 and it’s able to improve SSL visibility and management. It is SSL Orchestrator (SSLO) by F5 Networks.

A few years ago, nobody read the newspaper online with SSL because all of these websites were HTTP instead of HTTPS. However, today, most newspapers, and also most websites, work with SSL. Therefore, SSL is increasingly used in the Internet. It’s important to highlight SSL is used for privacy. We have to know SSL traffic is encrypted for privacy and not for security. Nobody will see the content of that traffic even when the content is malicious traffic. We need to watch out what's going on even when the traffic is encrypted with SSL.

SSL Adoption
 
Companies should know what kind of traffic is inside SSL packets. Companies need SSL Visibility to know if there are malware inside SSL packets or if there are data leaks. Security engineers need to know what kind of traffic they can decrypt and what kind of traffic is forbidden to decrypt. Most companies, which are worry about this matter, have a daisy-chain of products to decrypt and encrypt again and again SSL traffic regarding what they want to know and what they want to do. Today, the daisy-chain architecture is already deprecated.

Traditional SSL daisy-chain network design
 
Network Packet Brokers such as Gigamon and FireEye, and SSL Orchestrators like F5 SSLO are able to decrypt SSL traffic, classify the traffic, redirect the traffic to another security appliance, such as a Web Gateway, IDS/TAP, DLP/ICAP or IPS/NGFW, to be analysed, and finally re-encrypt the traffic for outgoing. This architecture is easier to configure. We can add and delete security appliances easily. In addition, if one security appliance fails, we can even bypass the failed appliance quickly.

High performance decryption and SSL Orchestration
 
This new architecture is called Dynamic Service Chain because it’s really simple to add appliances dynamically. It allows Dynamic Scaling. For instance, when there is a bottleneck in the IPS/NGFW appliance, it’s easy to add more IPS/NGFW appliances. We only have to configure a pool of appliances with more devices. What’s more, we can also choose what kind of traffic we are going to redirect for analysing with the IDS/TAP and what kind of traffic we don’t want to redirect to any security appliance.

SSL Orchestrator - A functional Overview
 
I think, technologies such as NPB and SSLO are disruptive because we can analyse and we can know the content of SSL traffic. I mean, we have more SSL visibility which is really important for most companies to detect malware, attacks, data leaks, etc.

Have a nice day my friends!

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