F5 Updates Access Manager, SSL Orchestrator to Boost Web App Security

F5 Networks is updating its SSL Orchestrator and Access Manager products as new research reveals that web application attacks cost organizations an average of $8 million.

F5 Access Manager

F5 Networks announced updates to its SSL Orchestrator and Access Manager products on July 25, providing enhanced security capabilities.

The SSL Orchestrator 4.0 update helps organizations more efficiently process encrypted traffic with policy-based management capabilities. The new Access Manager 14.1 update is based on technology currently available in the F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM); however, it is designed specifically for security use cases.

"It is best to think of Access Manager as an access control and management solution," Mark Campbell, senior product marketing manager at F5 Networks, told eWEEK. "It integrates well with existing IAM [Identity and Access Management] solutions and provides a secure entry point to applications."

Campbell added that as an identity-aware proxy, F5 Access Manager sits in front of applications and/or networks, and controls access per policy. 

"This helps to secure applications and networks by preventing bad actors or unauthenticated users from having direct access before they are authenticated and authorized," he said.

Access Manager 14.1 adds several features that it inherits from F5's APM, including a visual policy editor to simplify the creation and implementation of access policies, Campbell said. The update also inherits policy-based multifactor authentication, context-based step-up authentication and end-point security posture checks.

In addition to the enhancements derived from APM, F5 Access Manager also now includes new capabilities for authenticating microservices and API access. Campbell said Access Manager 14.1 also includes man-in-the-middle protection for access portals with client-side encryption and field obfuscation of log-in pages.

SSL Orchestrator

With the SSL Orchestrator update, there is now support for an early version of the emerging TLS 1.3 standard, which is the next generation of the SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) specification for encryption of data in transit. Campbell said full support for TLS 1.3 will be included in the next update of SSL Orchestrator.

Organizations are increasingly making use of SSL/TLS for all data traffic. A core element of SSL/TLS is the use of certificates, which can come from different Certificate Authorities (CAs). One of the most widely used CAs is the Let's Encrypt effort, which has issued over 113 million certificates.

"F5 can utilize any trusted certificate, and there are some configurations that can be made to ensure that certificates from Let’s Encrypt work seamlessly," Campbell said.

Application Protection Report

Alongside the new product updates, F5 released its 2018 Application Protection Report. Among the highlights of the 106-page report, F5 reported that web application attacks were responsible for 30 percent of data breaches. F5 also reported that the average loss from a web application security incident is estimated at $8 million.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.