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Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation 239

An anonymous reader writes "Since the announcement malicious actors have been leaking software library data and using one of the several provided PoC codes to attack the massive amount of services available on the internet. One of the more complicated issues is that the OpenSSL patches were not in-line with the upstream of large Linux flavors. We have had a opportunity to review the behavior of the exploit and have come up with the following IDS signatures to be deployed for detection."
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Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

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  • what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:51PM (#46709993)

    Was this badly translated from another language, or have I been out of system administration too long?

  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @08:58PM (#46710037)

    We have to thank the security researchers that chose to break the embargo on the news before OpenSSL coordinated with downstream project.

    Thank you for the mess, guys!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:00PM (#46710047)

    To be fair, nobody knows if this was exploited in the wild or not already - so the "mess" was going to happen anyway (unless you planned to patch your server, assuming your certificate was still good, and not tell any of your users that their passwords may have been exposed in the last couple years).

  • by Midnight_Falcon ( 2432802 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:10PM (#46710091)
    I've read your link and can't find any statement that indicates malicious persons had knowledge of this exploit before the announcement.
  • I'm running Linux Mint Olivia -- the next to current version -- an no openssl patch is yet available as of this afternoon. I image there are quite a few similar distros. Since I have actual work to do, and can't risk wasting two hours on a potentially borked upgrade, I'm stuck to trying not to use programs affected by the exploit for the duration.

    While something tells me this exploit is somewhat overblown, what really ticks me off is that this is all the result of delegating memory management to C pointers and basically mmap. As far as I'm concerned, in this day and age, that amounts to spaghetti code and I can't say it endears me to the reliability of openssl.

    Please, we need SSL to be secure, not fast. Just use a less efficient method to make things more secure.

  • by NiteMair ( 309303 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:17PM (#46710149)

    Except now pretty much every affected machine needs to have its SSL certificates and private keys revoked and trashed, and new keys/certificates issued.

    In the meantime, thousands (if not millions) of sites leaked sensitive data to anyone who wanted to snoop on it.

    Yeah, no big deal, none at repercussions will come of this.

  • by ChrisKnight ( 16039 ) <merlin@ghostwhe[ ]com ['el.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:18PM (#46710161) Homepage

    Midnight_Falcon, you are indeed a rare bird. :)

  • by nanolith ( 58246 ) * on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:21PM (#46710175)

    There is well written C, and there is poorly written C. I've been through the bowels of OpenSSL, and there are parts of it that frighten me. Ninety percent of the issues in OpenSSL could be solved by adopting a modern coding style and using better static analysis. While static analysis tools can't find vulnerabilities, they can root out code smell that hides vulnerabilities. If, for instance, I followed the advice of two of the quality commercial static analyzers that I ran against the OpenSSL code base, I would have been forced to refactor the code in such a way that this bug would have either been obvious to anyone casually reviewing it, if the refactor did not eliminate the bug all together.

    C and C++ are not necessarily the problem. It's true that higher level languages solve this particular kind of vulnerability, but they are not safe from other vulnerabilities. To solve problems like these, we need better coding style in critical open source projects.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:58PM (#46710407) Homepage Journal

    I think you completely missed my point. The hand wringing is useless. Fix it, mitigate it, and try to move on. Any damage that has been done is one. All that cane be done now is to patch and mitigate. All the wrangling going on on the 'net is amusing. The past can't be changed. We can learn from it and move on. There are plenty of ways to stop the bleeding. People are acting like the sky is falling. It's truly sad that you're one of them.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:24PM (#46710575) Journal
    Wow, not at all.

    News about a vulnerability should never be delayed longer than a workaround is known. That is, if there is a way to defend your servers, you need to let people know about it so they can defend their servers. Attackers don't wait for disclosure.

    In this case, there was a simple fix, recompiling OpenSSL with the proper flag and going, so letting people know as soon as possible is the best option. Those who are serious about security don't wait for Ubuntu to update their apt servers.
  • by nanolith ( 58246 ) * on Thursday April 10, 2014 @12:11AM (#46710977)

    Style, or the lack thereof, is absolutely related to this issue. It created the festering environment that this bug hid in for two years before it was discovered.

    Style is about more than pretty print formatting. It's about avoiding the god-awful raw pointer math found in this function. It's about properly bounding values. It's about enforcing the sorts of checks that come naturally to programmers with more experience and less bravado. You may not appreciate the need for good style yet, but I bet you that the OpenSSL team is rethinking this now. To know that such a sophomoric mistake lingered for two years, even though hundreds of eyes passed over that code, is the epitome of why good programming style matters. The people who looked at this code are likely much smarter than you or I. They could not follow the logic of this code, because their eyes glossed right over this glaring bug. That's bad style. Everything else is window dressing.

  • Re:what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by I kan Spl ( 614759 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:07AM (#46711153) Homepage

    VortexCortex should be a slashdot editor then. That would be entertaining at least.

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:20AM (#46711207) Homepage

    It was Robin Seggelmann that submitted this bit of buggy openssl code. He either works for the NSA or is grossly incompetent...

    Or he made a dumb mistake, as 100% of programmers have done and will do again in the future. Anyone who expects programmers (even the best programmers) to never make mistakes is guaranteed to be disappointed.

    The real issue here is that the development process did not detect the mistake and correct it in a timely manner. Code that is as security-critical as OpenSSL should really be code-reviewed and tested out the wahzoo before it is released to the public, so either that didn't happen, or it did happen and the process didn't detect this fault; either way a process-failure analysis and process improvements are called for.

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday April 10, 2014 @01:27AM (#46711243) Homepage

    JVM's are written in C and C++, the CLR is the same. Which managed language do you suggest to use that was not built with C?

    The point isn't to eliminate C code entirely, but to minimize the number of lines of C code that are executed.

    If (statistically speaking) there will are likely to be N memory-error bugs per million lines of C code, then the number of memory-error bugs in a managed language will be proportional to the size of the interpreter, rather than proportional to the size of the program as a whole.

    Add to that the fact that interpreters are generally written by expert programmers, and then they receive lots and lots of testing and debugging, and then (hopefully) become mature/stable shortly thereafter; whereas application code is often written by mediocre programmers and often receives only minimal testing and debugging.

    Conclusion: Even if the underlying interpreter is written in C, using a managed language for security-critical applications is still a big win.

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.