How a NDR Solution Detects Attacks on an Encrypted Network?

January 11, 2024
Cybersecurity - Artificial Intelligence - Security network

Cybersecurity has become a major issue for businesses, especially in today’s interconnected world. With the surge in sophisticated cyberattacks, safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring operational continuity has become essential. Attacks on encrypted networks are increasingly common, making threat detection all the more complex. This is where the Network Detection and Response (NDR) solution steps in. 

In this article, we delve into how an NDR solution effectively detects attacks on an encrypted network. 

Understanding Encrypted Networks

An encrypted network uses encryption protocols to secure communications between different devices and servers. These protocols ensure that data remains confidential to any unauthorised person, even if they manage to intercept network traffic.

Whether communications are via the Internet, between remote networks, or on the local network, it is important that they are encrypted so that someone eavesdropping cannot easily retrieve sensitive information from the network.

Cybercriminals also use encrypted channels (for example, Command and Control is mainly carried out via HTTPs), making detection more complex. So, this is a major challenge for businesses, necessitating robust capabilities to detect these attacks on encrypted flows.

How Does an NDR Solution Function in Detecting Encrypted Traffic?

An NDR solution continuously monitors network traffic and analyses data flows to detect abnormal behaviours.

In the case of detection on encrypted flows, analysing the application content can only be done effectively through decryption. However, these are cost intensive and a central decryption-capable solution could itself become a target for attacks.

An alternative approach is to not rely on the actual content. In such scenarios, traditional Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) prove ineffective, making way for the NDR solution.

The latter relies on AI and particularly behavioral analysis to proactively identify suspicious activities, even within encrypted data.

Detecting attacks on an encrypted network uses network packet characteristics. While the content of encrypted communications remains inaccessible, metadata (information about the data itself) remains visible. The NDR solution scrutinises lower-level characteristics such as packet size, time between packets, connection sequences, abnormal data volumes, IP addresses, etc., to spot unusual patterns.

Consider, for instance, online Brute Force attack attempts. Multiple connections with a particular pattern, especially in packet arrival times, signal multiple connection attempts, indicating an ongoing attack.

How Custocy Detects Encrypted Flows?

Custocy’s NDR solution relies on unique AI community technology, each specialised at detection at different time scales: milliseconds, seconds, minutes, and weeks. These are orchestrated by a master AI, the METALEARNER, which centralises and analyses their responses, deciding whether to alert the user or not.

To proactively detect threats, Custocy’s NDR solution retrieves network metadata, analysed by this AI community.

It’s important to note that metadata contains no application data. Only protocol names are used for analysis (HTTPS/SMB/SSH).

Our entire AI model suite can detect within encrypted flows. They flag suspicious activities to the METALEARNER, which, after a final analysis, alerts the user of an ongoing attack.

Our models rely on:

  • Packet size and time between packets
  • Flow metadata
  • Aggregate flow metadata (to/from the same IP address)
  • Different protocol usages by an asset (behavioral analysis)

Advantages of Encrypted Network Detection with an NDR Solution

Detecting attacks on an encrypted network using an NDR solution enables businesses to better safeguard their sensitive data by swiftly identifying threats, even when cybercriminals attempt to hide behind encryption. Moreover, it provides enhanced visibility into network traffic, enabling security teams to make informed decisions and bolster company security.

In conclusion

Cybersecurity presents an increasingly complex challenge as attacks, particularly on encrypted networks, proliferate. Nonetheless, a robust NDR solution can play a pivotal role in uncovering these hidden threats concealed within encryption. It’s therefore crucial for businesses to equip themselves with cutting-edge technologies to protect their data and ensure operational continuity in an ever more digital and interconnected world.

Curious to discover our NDR solution? Book your demo slot, it’s 100% free! 👉HERE.