Feeds

Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed

Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

All over the world, systems administrators are scrambling to fix the OpenSSL “Heartbleed” bug.

At the same time, certificate sellers are preparing rub currency all over their bodies as Web admins virtually swipe the corporate Amex to revoke and renew their certs.

OpenSSL's history reaches back to Eric Young's SSLeay. While it might be derided as a “teach yourself Bignum division” project by Johns Hopkins' Matthew Green, we should also remember that before the Hudson/Young work, encryption was tightly controlled by the US government.

Age and familiarity are what lend OpenSSL its pervasiveness, and we're still only just scratching the surface of the bug's reach.

The home broadband modem/router, for example, is a special hell. Ask yourself:

  • Can I easily find out if my router is running OpenSSL, and if so what version? (Answer: probably no)
  • Can I easily upgrade to a secure version? (Answer: only if my vendor or the ISP that provided the hardware ships a firmware upgrade)
  • Will old devices get upgraded? (Answer: probably not in a hurry and almost certainly not automatically)
  • What can I do? (Answer: turn off remote management, if you can).

Justin Clacherty of Australian hardware developer Redfish said it's nearly impossible for the average end user to work out what version of software a consumer broadband router is running.

Ty Miller of Threat Intelligence agrees, telling The Register the end user would either have to work out how to retrieve the information from a command line connection to the device, or by testing one of the public Heartbleed exploit tests against it.

That leaves users entirely in the hands of vendors, Clacherty said: whether the vulnerability exists will depend on which embedded Linux is in the modem, which will affect whether the vulnerable OpenSSL version is the one that's been installed.

Miller notes that the information present in a home router can be just as sensitive as anywhere else, merely on a smaller scale: the 64 KB “exposed” memory block might still contain the user's banking passwords or WiFi passwords.

And even the option of “turning off remote management” isn't available to everyone, since some ISPs don't give customers that option.

There's also a lot of enterprise-level products and services that also use OpenSSL to protect connections, like VPN products and mail servers.

“This vulnerability is going to be around for ten years,” Miller said. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.