Volume 13, Number 1

Resolving Network Defense Conflicts with Zero Trust Architectures and Other End-to-End Paradigms


William R. Simpson and Kevin E. Foltz, The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), USA


Network defense implies a comprehensive set of software tools to preclude malicious entities from conducting activities such as exfiltration of data, theft of credentials, blocking of services and other nefarious activities. For most enterprises at this time, that defense builds upon a clear concept of the fortress approach. Many of the requirements are based on inspection and reporting prior to delivery of the communication to the intended target. These inspections require decryption of packets and this implies that the defensive suite either impersonates the requestor, or has access to the private cryptographic keysof the servers that are the target of communication. This is in contrast to an end-to-end paradigm where known good entities can communicate directly and no other entity has access to the content unless that content is provided to them. There are many new processes that require end-to-end encrypted communication, including distributed computing, endpoint architectures, and zero trust architectures and enterprise level security. In an end-to-end paradigm, the keys used for authentication, confidentiality, and integrity reside only with the endpoints. This paper examines a formulation that allows unbroken communication, while meeting the inspection and reporting requirements of a network defense. This work is part of a broader security architecture termed Enterprise Level Security (ELS)framework.


Appliance, end-to-end security model, ELS, network defenses, web server handlers, zero trust architecture.