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Amazon carefully stitches up Heartbleed OpenSSL hole

Bezos & Co patch mammoth web infrastructure to stop memory-leaking frightener

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Amazon is working to patch "Heartbleed" memory-leak vulnerablities in its Amazon Web Services hosting infrastructure.

The mammoth cloud company confirmed on Tuesday that it has dealt with some of the parts of its infrastructure that were vulnerable to the nasty OpenSSL 1.0.1 bug nicknamed "Heartbleed" that was disclosed on Monday. However, as of the time of writing it hadn't sealed all the holes.

The Heartbleed bug lets nefarious actors reveal up to 64KB of memory of systems using OpenSSL, potentially compromising the keys used to "identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content."

Given that Amazon's cloud division Amazon Web Services both uses OpenSSL and gives its tens of thousands of cloud customers the option of using it as well, the disclosure of the bug was disconcerting.

At the time of writing, Amazon said it had dealt with all its Elastic Load Balancers affected by Heartbleed, apart from those in its vast "US-EAST-1" data center region.

"The vast majority of load balancers have been updated and we continue to work on the remaining load balancers and expect them to be updated within the next few hours," it said.

It also confirmed that it had mitigated the vulnerability within Amazon CloudFront, and was working with "a small number of customers" of its AWS Elastic Beanstalk platform-as-a-service to help them deal with it as well.

Customers of its mainstay EC2 compute service, however, who are using OpenSSL on their own Linux images will need to update the images to protect themselves.

As an added precaution, Amazon says admins of gear in its cloud estates should rotate any SSL certificates used to further deal with the frightening bug.

As for Amazon's rivals? The bug was disclosed by a Google employee, so Google Compute Engine is safe and Microsoft's Azure cloud doesn't use OpenSSL. ®

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