How Heartbleed Is Changing Security

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Or it might be all hype

Mike Davis, CTO of CounterTack, is one of several security experts who think Heartbleed is overhyped, stating:

While it is a risk to many UNIX operating systems as they use OpenSSL, the real at-risk devices in the enterprise are endpoints as that is where most attacks now occur. In this case, luckily, most enterprises use Microsoft Windows as the OS, which is not affected by Heartbleed or the reverse Heartbleed attack since Microsoft does not use OpenSSL. This limits the risk for most enterprises to their servers, network equipment and appliances.

Kurt Baumgartner, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab, said that the Heartbleed vulnerability hasn't yet proven to be as destructive as many other security challenges. However, he added that we are still in the early stages of Heartbleed. It is too soon to know the true effects of the vulnerability.

There is a benefit to all of the hype. Baumgartner said Heartbleed was a very intense exercise in security response, and the disclosure process might have minimized destruction. Davis said it is a wake-up call for those companies that use OpenSSL to demand a more structured incident response and for better communication regarding critical security issues.

Or, as Morey Haber, senior director of Program Management, BeyondTrust, simply put it:

I think this will be another security blip on the radar overall but this hopefully will help educate people on the need for better password management and two-factor authentication.

Few cybersecurity issues have people talking, and worried, like the Heartbleed bug.

As Chester Wisniewski explained in a CNN article:

The bug itself is a simple, honest mistake in the computer code that was intended to reduce the computing resources encryption consumes. The problem is that this bug made it past the quality assurance tests and has been deployed across the Internet for nearly two years.

Heartbleed hit in ways that we once naturally assumed were secure. It affected OpenSSL, an open source code, and the open source community has long prided itself on its high levels of security. And it affected encryption, which every security expert recommends when asked how to best transmit data. Mike Gross, director of professional services and risk management at 41st Parameter, stated:

Heartbleed exposed a major gap in security that will have significant downstream effects on consumers for years. While the Heartbleed flaw itself had a relatively simple fix on the surface and consumer-facing sites and Web portals, the big unknown is whether all known servers and mobile apps affected by the flaw have been patched across large and complex enterprises. That's a very difficult undertaking and a single gap could expose consumers to the same data compromise risk and organizations to a repeat of the recent scramble.

What is most worrisome to many computer users is the widespread reach of Heartbleed. This isn’t a simple breach of one company or a vulnerability that has touched one software application. It affects the financial industry, small businesses, firewalls, printers, machinery in power plants. The list is seemingly endless.

How will enterprise security react to Heartbleed? Is this the push needed to finally re-evaluate passwords and other ineffective methods of network security?

 

Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

 
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