Feeds

Today's bugs have BRANDS? Be still my bleeding heart [logo]

Code-slinger Verity reviews the rash of groovy-named open-source security vulns

Security for virtualized datacentres

Bug #3: Heartbleed

Heartbleed is the first bug of my experience to come with its own  logo. If this catches on, the designer fees alone will soon send the most agile development cycle spiralling out of control.

The pithiest explanation of Heartbleed is xkcd's; a detailed investigation can be found here.

Needless to say, it is a fragment of C code that causes the trouble. However, unlike the previous efforts, I would say that this is proper C code, in the sense that it is full of the clatter of pointer arithmetic and chatter of the in-place post-increment operator. Atari BASIC could not cut this mustard.

By all means have a look; the action all takes place around line 2400.

With a crunching noise, an in-place macro pseudo-function bites off the length target buffer and hands the result to malloc(). A swift memcpy() and some random bytes piped on top by way of decoration and before you have had time to think 'I don't much care for this bracing style' whoosh! it's all done, with the smoothness and grace of a Bruce Forsyte fresh from an invigorating massage. To complain that it has just sent over a few clear text passwords and a brace of private keys, flotsam caught up in the mesh of an oversized buffer, feels like cavilling.

But RFC 6520 Section 4 says If a received HeartbeatResponse message does not contain the expected payload, the message MUST be discarded silently. So, there.

And I hope you will forgive my banging on about this, but if it were written in C++, it would be easier to arrange things so that, for example, transmission buffers automatically checked the size of data they were supposed to be copying. Just saying.

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: The Flensing of C

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.