Why smart companies don’t sweat the SSL stuff in DDoS defense

The average company suffers 15 DDoS attacks per year, with average attacks causing 17 hours of effective downtime, including slowdowns, denied customer access or crashes, according to a recent IDG Connect report based on a survey commissioned by A10 Networks.

DDoS attacks have rapidly proliferated in terms of bandwidth (Gbps) and packets per second (pps). In the survey, 59% of organizations polled have experienced an attack over 40 Gbps. Average attack bandwidth are peaking at a staggering 30 to 40 Gbps and 77% of organizations expect multi-vector attacks, which include volumetric and application-layer attacks, to pose the greatest danger in the future.

In recent years, multi-vector DDoS attacks have tunneled over encrypted SSL connections to evade cyber defenses. Some attacks have exploited the SSL protocol to cause denial of service by repeating ‘renegotiation’ in the same connection but stop short of creating a secure channel. Others flood SSL traffic over the created secure channel without being distinguished as a malicious connection.

The reason is that while most organizations protect their websites and online services with SSL, many existing enterprise security products are either woefully blind to encrypted SSL traffic or debilitated when trying to decrypt and analyze it.

From urgent threat to FYI notification

Amid growing virtualization, cloud networking and mobility, SSL encryption requirements to protect data and secure commnuications will surge. In other words, organizations must rethink their SSL offload and SSL inspection strategies, especially in defending against DDoS attacks.

The IDG Connect report shows that more than half of the organizations surveyed plan to increase DDoS prevention budgets in the next six months.

“DDoS attacks are called ‘sudden death’ for good reason,” says Raj Jalan, CTO of A10 Networks. “If left unaddressed, the costs will include lost business, time-to-service restoration and a decline in customer satisfaction. The good news is our findings show that security teams are making DDoS prevention a top priority. With a better threat prevention system, they can turn an urgent business threat into an FYI-level notification.”

To stop SSL at the data center perimeter, some organizations have deployed application delivery controllers (ADCs) equipped with crypto engines to help off-load SSL from servers and security appliances. Some ADCs also offer web application firewalls (WAFs) to inspect the traffic and detect attacks.

To eliminate SSL blind spots in corporate defenses and enable security devices to regain their effectiveness, application networking and security leader A10 Networks introduced the Thunder SSL Insight (SSLi) standalone security product built on its  SSL inspection technology and 64-bit ACOS Harmony platform.

The Thunder SSLi appliances decrypt SSL traffic and offer comprehensive inspection of multiple ciphers that deliver up to 48 Gbps of SSL inspection throughput. Their high density 1 GbE, 10 GbE and 40 GbE port options fulfill the highest networking bandwidth demands.

Clear and ever present security

The appliances are also complemented by intelligence-driven protection policies.  The A10 URL Classification Service monitors, blocks, or selectively bypasses specific websites to provide privacy for healthcare and financial Internet activity while the A10 Threat Intelligence Service blocks users from accessing known bad IP addresses.

Well-known global manufacturer of consumer gadgets, Casio Computer Company, has seized the opportunity to enhance security by analyzing encrypted communications using A10 Networks’ SSL Insight technology.

Having deployed the A10 Thunder ADCs to provide its employees smooth cloud access, Casio seeks the ability to differentiate between personal use and work-related cloud-bound traffic, according to Koji Kawade of Casio Information Systems Co Ltd’s User Support Group.  

A10 Networks’ ADCs are equipped with SSL acceleration hardware that provides near-parity performance to handle 4096-bit keys at high-quality production levels, providing highly scalable flow distribution and DDoS protection capabilities..

The A10 Thunder TPS Series, for example, leverages SSL security processors to detect and mitigate SSL-based attacks, such as the POODLE vulnerability, and offers a mitigation throughput capacity ranging from 10 Gbps to 1.2 Tbps (in a list synchronization cluster) to deal with the largest multi-vector DDoS attacks effectively.

Clearly, A10 ADCs will continue ramping up L4 and L7 connections per second and SSL performance benchmarks to meet increasing performance and security needs against greater multi-vector DDoS attacks. 

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by A10 Networks.