Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 09:52

Nearly three years on, Heartbleed is alive and well

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A 2014 vulnerability in OpenSSL is yet to be patched in about 200,000 Web-facing devices, according to figures from the Shodan search engine.

Among these are 2596 systems in Australia and 535 in New Zealand. The US has the most unpatched devices with 42,032, followed by South Korea (15,380).

The vulnerability, known as Heartbleed, is present in several versions of OpenSSL, a cryptographic library that enables SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Security Layer) encryption.

The flaw would potentially allow attackers to monitor all information that flows between a user and a Web service, and could even decrypt past traffic they’ve collected, according to experts.

The problem, detailed in CVE-2014-0160, is a missing bounds check in the handling of the TLS heartbeat extension (hence the name 'Heartbleed'), which can then be used to view 64K of memory on a connected server. This allows attackers to obtain the private keys used to encrypt traffic.

The bug was discovered by three researchers from security firm Codenomicon and Neel Mehta, a security researcher at Google.

Most of the systems which are still vulnerable are offering https services. Not surprisingly, Apache leads the vulnerable systems with 51,983 hosts.

Amazon Web Services has the most vulnerable domains with 6375, while Linux 3.x is among the top operating systems affected.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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