Why certain Heatbleed exposures won’t be so easy for bad guys to exploit

Heartbleed + Android: A Not-So Love Story from Lookout
By Byron Acohido, Last Watchdog

KINGSTON, Wash. – The security headaches raised by the Heartbleed coding flaw keep expanding.

sh_heartbleed_450pxArs Technica reporter Dan Goodin has broken stories about how the Canadian government and Yahoo Mail have been bitten by Heartbleed exploits in the wild. And there are numerous vendors and experts stepping forward with information on how Heartbleed could be exploited in pervasively used technologies. However, despite the high-alarm conveyed in media reporting and by security products marketers, it’s not trivial for individuals or even hacking collectives with ill-intent to capitalize.

Google, for instance,  last week warned that Android smartphones running version 4.1.1 of Google’s mobile operating system are vulnerable to Heartbleed attacks in which a bad guy might access  passwords, personal messages and other private information from the device. Last Watchdog asked Mojave Networks threat engineer Ryan Smith …more

Heartbleed threatens financial channels

(Editor’s note: In this guest essay, Scott Borg, CEO and chief economist at the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, outlines why online financial accounts are most exposed to the Heartbleed coding flaw – and why few criminal hackers are in a position to take advantage. The accompanying video conveys an overview of the state of the cyber underground; it comes from  a talk delivered by Borg at the RSA Conference in San Francisco earlier this year. US-CCU is an independent, non-profit research institute that investigates the strategic and economic consequences of cyber-attacks.)

By Scott Borg, Special to Last Watchdog

There seems to be some confusion about what Heartbleed is good for. Heartbleed is primarily useful for retrieving information from webservers that reveals the details of those servers’ recent interactions with clients. …more

Heartbleed remediated on thousands of enterprise apps, dozens still vunerable

140415_Heartbleed_fixed appsBy Byron Acohido, Last Watchdog

KINGSTON, Wash. – Netskope, a new cloud app analytics company, has come up with a unique metric illustrating the scramble to patch Heartbleed vulnerabilities in widely deployed business apps. Netskope’s technology enables granular scoping for specific behaviors within the most popular apps used by companies and workers. It currently tracks some 4,500 enterprise cloud apps.

Last week, Netskope sorted this index of apps to see which were susceptible to Heartbleed and found that after an initial burst of patching at least 100 enterprise cloud apps remained vulnerable to the OpenSSL vulnerability. Netskope then posted this countdown timer to show how many apps remain vulnerable. …more

A roadmap for triaging Heartbleed exposures

By Byron Acohido, Last Watchdog

The acute notoriety of Heartbleed is a good thing in this sense: it ought to compel CIOs and CISOs to drill down on developing a roadmap for dealing with exposures that could run very deep.

The most worrisome aspect of Heartbleed arguably is the fact that  this gaping security hole is so pervasively embedded in the fabric of the  commercial Internet.  “There are a few protocols that dominate when it comes to the security and operation of the Internet as a whole, SSL/TLS is one of them.” says TK Keanini, CTO at Lancope.   “Everyone should have seen this coming.”

Companies and organizations ought to be scrambling over the next several days and weeks to triangulate and mitigate potential exposures relating to the wide use of the  OpenSSL encryption protocal recently shown to be dangerously squishy, from a security standpoint, observes  Dr. Mike Lloyd, CTO of RedSeal .  Top of mind should be the spectre of data thieves and cyber spies  hustling to exploit  the Heartbleed flaw in order to exfiltrate sensitive data, especially  private encryption keys, Lloyd says. …more

Heartbleed threat should boost Always On SSL as a best practice



Web site owners who are taking a closer look at their use of the SSL/TSL cryptographic protocols in the aftermath of the disclosure of the Heartbleed bug would be wise to heed the The Online Trust Alliance’s longstanding call to adopt Always On SSL. This best practice calls for using SSL/TLS across the entire website, instead of just the logon page, an all too common practice.

Last Watchdog …more

Über nasty Heartbleed bug exposes fabric of the Internet

By Byron Acohido, Last Watchdog

KINGSTON, Wash. – An über nasty security flaw has arisen from the din to command the attention of the global security community, rightfully so.

The so-called “Heartbleed” flaw represents a path bad guys can use to tap into OpenSSL, the open-source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols that are used all across the Internet to encrypt sensitive data.

“This is a very serious vulnerability. It allows attackers to see a portion of the contents of memory of the vulnerable server,” says Matt Willems, LogRhythm Labs engineer. “This particular vulnerability still exists in many locations, so changing your password may just mean that the new password is vulnerable.”

John Miller, Security Research Manager at Trustwave, observes that the Heartbeat flaw was spawned when OpenSSL was tweaked more than two years ago. He says it makes sense that criminals took notice prior to good guy researchers at Google and a small security firm, codenomicon, identifying the flaw this week. …more

Why more steps to protect critical infrastructure are needed



(Editor’s note: In this Last Watchdog guest essay, By Lior Frenkel, CEO and co-founder of Waterfall Security Solutions, points out that some level of work is being done to protect industrial controls.)

By Lior Frenkel, Special to Last Watchdog

Most computers controlling critical infrastructures are protected by IT-style security at best. The problem is that IT-style protections are routinely bested by everyone from Chinese intelligence agencies to hacktivists who adopted …more