Feeds

OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts

Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Would you want to audit 429,699 lines of code?

OpenSSL's code is right here to examine – and the theory goes that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow," meaning that by making the blueprints public, flaws should be quickly spotted and fixed. But Heartbleed has shown that perhaps just two sets of eyes – Seggelmann's and OpenSSL core developer Dr Stephen Henson, who committed the heartbeat update – studied the faulty code before it was blindly hoovered up by other software makers and developers. And for such a critical package, that doesn't seem right.

"Unfortunately, even the OpenSSL developer who conducted the review of the code did not notice the missing check," said Seggelmann. "Thus, the faulty code was adopted in the development version, which later became the published version."

Already people are wondering out loud why more money is not being thrown at OpenSSL, assuming that will do the trick of fixing its bugs. Freeware disk-encryption tool TrueCrypt, favored by NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden, is being audited for vulnerabilities after security researchers raised nearly $60,000 in donations to fund the effort, proving there is a demand for the scrutiny of freely available software.

But auditing OpenSSL is a daunting task: it has 429,699 lines of code according to a SLOCCount analysis, about 73 per cent of which is in C, and its code is, shall we say, non-trivial in places. It would perhaps cost about $15.7m to develop from scratch with a team of 35 programmers over three years.

The fallout from this tiny but devastating bug

Various flavors of the Linux operating system potentially shipped a broken OpenSSL code, including Debian Wheezy, Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS, OpenBSD 5.3, FreeBSD 10.0, and OpenSUSE 12.2; OpenBSD leader Theo de Raadt had some choice words about the bug. Apple's OS X and iOS software, and its websites, were not vulnerable, and neither were Microsoft Windows and the Azure cloud simply because Redmond uses its own SSL/TLS suite.

Google's Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable, which affects a large number of mobile phones. The web king also had to patch its Cloud SQL service and Google Search Appliances, plus its web services: Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Play, Apps, and App Engine. Amazon also had to patch its cloud services. Google and Amazon users should pick new passwords just in case they were leaked by Heartbleed.

Websites Facebook, If This Then That, Tumblr, Yahoo! and Yahoo! Mail all had to update their servers to splat the data-leaking bug, and all urge their users to now change their account passwords.

And 16 networking products by Cisco and some Juniper networking kit are affected by Heartbleed. The roster of horror stories continues here.

El Reg tried to contact Dr Henson for comment, but he was not available to respond immediately. ®

Updated to add at 0229 UTC, April 12

* Cloudflare challenged the world to extract its private SSL key from an Nginx 1.5.13 web server linked against OpenSSL 1.0.1.f on Ubuntu Linux 13.10 x86_64. And two people managed to do exactly that, using the Heartbleed vulnerability.

"We confirmed that both of these individuals have the private key and that it was obtained through Heartbleed exploits," wrote the online content distribution network biz. "We rebooted the server at 3:08PST, which may have contributed to the key being available in memory, but we can’t be certain."

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.