More from openssl last week

09 Jun

The heartbleed bug might have created pressure schedules for many a system administrators and security practitioners around the globe, but it definitely has done a few good things. One great outcome of heartbleed is closer scrutiny of the openssl code and use cases, that is going to help the secure online activities in the long run.

Last week, openssl released a few more patches and people jumped on it right away. The issues involved are not as serious as heartbleed (actually, no where closer), but the attention these patches have got is good.

Broadly, there are two major vulnerabilities that are of interest to me from that set.

  • SSL/TLS MITM vulnerability (CVE-2014-0224): The vulnerability requires both client and server to be running vulnerable versions of openssl, so this was relatively easy to fix. This vulnerability exploits the weakness in ChangeCipherSpec phase of the SSL handshake and that is a small, but practical window of opportunity for the attacker. Also, connectionless services are impacted to a greater level (say, streaming) than connection oriented services. That made this particular vulnerability a very important one to fix, but not a super critical one from a timeline standpoint.
  • SSL_MODE_RELEASE_BUFFERS NULL pointer dereference (CVE-2014-0198): This vulnerability would cause potential injection into a stream and would lead to DOS attacks. Luckily, none of the key sites I work with are using this flag explicitly set on apache and nginx based servers.

Rest of the vulnerabilities are not so critical for the kind of environments I work on. However, patching in either of the above cases would lead to well patched servers for all these vulnerabilities.

So it was a good week/weekend that involved verify and patch than rush and fix.


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