How Heartbleed Is Changing Security

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Will two-factor authentication become more accepted due to Heartbleed?

Two-factor authentication is always better than just a username and a password, said Greg Foss, senior security research engineer at LogRhythm Labs, explaining:

I have seen many popular services moving towards this approach, especially now that multifactor authentication is much easier and more cost-effective to implement than it was a few years ago. My guess would be that the most prominent multifactor authentication mechanism will rely on the users’ smartphone. It’s fairly simple, they log in using a username and a password, then the application sends them a text message with a random pin or passcode; once they enter this, they are granted access.

But this isn’t a foolproof method either, according to Tom Cross, Lancope’s director of security research. It’s important for people to understand that Heartbleed can also be used to steal Session IDs. Cross pointed out that there have been real-world reports of sophisticated attackers bypassing two-factor authentication in OpenSSL-based VPNs in order to gain access to corporate networks by stealing Session IDs using the Heartbleed vulnerability.

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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