Cisco Develops New Network That Can Spot Threats in Encrypted Traffic

American multinational technology conglomerate, Cisco recently unveiled new intent-based networking solutions, that use advanced automation and machine learning to control networks. The network solutions – which were years in the making – come to assist IT managing hundreds of devices today and are expected to supervise up to 1 million by 2020. Termed “intent-based network” the new invention is said to be able to identify malware without breaking into the encrypted traffic.

With a vast global install base, Cisco can swiftly analyze data and provide clients with insight into how to spot anomalies most effectively as well as anticipate network issues before they have chance a to happen, while also safeguarding privacy. The main goal is to help network engineers manage their networks better by automating the edge of the network and implementing the power of machine learning and analytics directly at the foundation level.

Presented as one of the most significant breakthroughs in enterprise networking, the new system will be able to anticipate actions and stop security threats in their early stages, while continuing to evolve and learn.

As the security threat landscape continues to evolve, networks will have to adapt by continuing to learn, change and provide better protection. With the new approach, Cisco is providing clients with the fundamental blueprint for networking which utilizes reimagined hardware and new software.

Cisco’s new Digital Network Architecture (DNA) is exactly that – a hardware and software combo that powers the new network solution. These include the DNA Centre, which is a centralized management dashboard or the Software-Defined Access – a tool designed to allow simpler network access for users and devices.

Also part of DNA is Encrypted Traffic Analytics (ETA) which according to Cisco is the most advanced solution for targeting abnormalities across billions of devices. ETA takes advantage of cyber-intelligence to spot attack signatures even in encrypted traffic. Cisco said encryption is a “double-edged sword”, as it can be used to provide protection, but also to hide malicious actors from view.

The development of such tools is extremely valuable since not all attacks come from unprotected sources. Actually, more than 50% of cyber-attacks are hidden in encrypted traffic as a means to conceal their delivery, so Cisco’s new tool is bound to make quite a difference in the ecosystem.

Cisco’s new ETA solution examines a number of data sources like transport layer security handshake metadata, domain name severs contextual flows linked to the encrypted data and the HTTP information taken from the same IP address within 5 minutes, in order to determine a potential threat.

Even if Cisco has been focusing mostly on hardware products, the company also has an interest in software. For example,  its new Catalyst 9000 family of switches –which are centered on mobility, cloud, loT, and security – comes with a DNA software subscription.

The Catalyst 9300 and 9500 series will be available this month, while the Catalyst 9400 will follow next month. The switches are expected to deliver unmatched security, performance, and flexibility due to the upgrades in both hardware and software areas. As for the DNA Center and SD Access, they will land in August, while the Encrypted Traffic Analytics product will become available in September.

Read more security articles from Tech Insight here.

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