Encrypted traffic is one of the biggest challenges in the security Industry and now Cisco comes with a solution for it. Cisco ETA was announced in the last June and now it came for general availability.

Cisco ETA inspects the contents of the encrypted traffic without breaking the packets, it uses network visibility and multi-layer machine learning to look for observable differences.

First, ETA examines the initial data packet of the connection. This by itself may contain valuable data about the rest of the content. Then there is the sequence of packet lengths and times, which offers vital clues into traffic contents beyond the beginning of the encrypted flow. Since this network-based detection process is aided by machine learning, it adapts to change and its efficacy is maintained over time.

Cisco says ETA can identify the quality of encryption, gives visibility and knowledge of what data being encrypted in your network.

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Initially Cisco ETA available only with campus switches, the Catalyst 9300 and 9400 series and now it extended to routing platforms.

  • Integrated Services Router (ISR): 4000 Series, the new 1000 Series, ISRv on ENCS 5000 series.
  • Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 series.
  • Cloud Services Router (CSR) 1000V.

Cisco says it preserves the privacy of legitimate traffic and analyzes encrypted traffic by observing through passive monitoring and it adapts to change and its efficacy is maintained over time.

Gartner report says in 2019 more than 80 percent traffic of corporate traffic is encrypted and more than 50 percent of malware campaigns uses encryption and obfuscation techniques.

Cisco concluded that “We’re excited to bring these much-needed security innovations to our customers and we will be rolling out additional capabilities in the months to come“.

Below is the Cisco ETA video representation



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