Heartbleed Bug Jolts IT Admins

ItEUs a bug that impacts most of the Internet. Heartbleed could give hackers access to user passwords and even trick people into using fake versions of popular Web sites.

Security engineers at Codenomicon who found the bug, are reporting that the vulnerability is in the OpenSSL cryptographic software library. The weakness, they said, steals information typically protected by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet.

We caught up with Martin Gallo, a senior security consultant at security software firm Core Security, to get his take on the Heartbleed fallout. He told us the extent of the problem is two-fold. On one hand, he said, companies running services that rely in any way on OpenSSL may have been affected for the past two years because OpenSSL is the main security technology for most sites running services.

EUOn the other hand, the issue also affects the client-side of SSL connections using the library. This includes also a large range of end-user software that might be vulnerable,EU Gallo said. EUAnother interesting question is to what extent commercial software makes use of this flawed library or routines.EU

That of course, remains to be seen. Right now, IT admins may be scrambling for an action plan they can take to cover the known bases. Gallo recommends three: (1) install new code and patches; (2) work with certificate authorities as SSL private keys may have been compromised; and (3) alert customers and users regarding the client SSL software.

Not Easy to Patch

In terms of installing new code and patches, there are plenty of challenges at hand. One of the key obstacles, Gallo explained, is that OpenSSL is typically found in systems that are not easy to patch, such as embedded or network devices.

EUEnsuring that all services are running updated versions is a very demanding task,EU Gallo said. EUAdditionally, system...

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