Why is encryption challenging to security monitoring?
Encryption is a technique used to secure data by converting it into an unreadable format using a mathematical algorithm. The encrypted data can only be accessed by someone who possesses the correct decryption key. Encryption is an essential security measure to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access, interception, and theft. However, it can pose significant challenges to security monitoring.
One of the main reasons encryption is challenging to security monitoring is that it is often used by threat actors as a method of evasion and obfuscation. Encryption makes it difficult for security tools to detect and analyze network traffic, as the content of the encrypted packets cannot be read without the decryption key. Attackers can use encryption to hide their malicious activities, such as data exfiltration, command and control communication, and lateral movement, from detection and analysis by security tools.
Moreover, encryption introduces additional processing requirements by the CPU. Encryption requires additional computing resources to perform the encryption and decryption of the data, which can increase the processing load on network devices and security tools. This can lead to performance degradation, increased latency, and decreased throughput, which can negatively impact network operations and user experience.
Finally, encryption introduces larger packet sizes to analyze and store. Encrypted packets are typically larger than unencrypted packets due to the additional overhead of the encryption process. This can lead to increased storage requirements and processing overhead for security tools that need to capture, analyze, and store network traffic. Moreover, the size of encrypted packets can vary depending on the encryption algorithm and key size, which can make it challenging to normalize and compare network traffic across different devices and environments.
In summary, encryption is challenging to security monitoring because it can be used by threat actors as a method of evasion and obfuscation, introduces additional processing requirements by the CPU, and introduces larger packet sizes to analyze and store. As a result, security monitoring solutions need to have robust capabilities to detect and analyze encrypted traffic, such as decryption capabilities, threat intelligence, behavioral analysis, and machine learning algorithms.