Some HTTPS inspection tools might weaken security

Posted on 20-03-2017 , by: admin , in , 0 Comments

Companies that use security products to inspect HTTPS traffic might inadvertently make their users’ encrypted connections less secure and expose them to man-in-the-middle attacks, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team warns.

US-CERT, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, published an advisory after a recent survey showed that HTTPS inspection products don’t mirror the security attributes of the original connections between clients and servers.

HTTPS inspection checks the encrypted traffic coming from an HTTPS site to make sure it doesn’t contain threats or malware. It’s performed by intercepting a client’s connection to an HTTPS server, establishing the connection on the client’s behalf and then re-encrypting the traffic sent to the client with a different, locally generated certificate. Products that do this essentially act as man-in-the-middle proxies.

In a typical enterprise environment, an HTTPS connection can even be intercepted and re-encrypted multiple times: at the network perimeter by gateway security products or data leak prevention systems and on endpoint systems by antivirus programs that need to inspect such traffic for malware.