How Heartbleed Is Changing Security

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Steps enterprise can take to relieve customer concerns

To the average consumer who doesn’t understand the difference between open source and closed source, or has no idea what OpenSSL was designed to do, stories about Heartbleed and its potential dangers are frightening. Greg Foss said absolute best measures businesses can take right now are as follows:

  1. Assure that their servers have been patched to remediate against the Heartbleed vulnerability.
  2. If they were vulnerable, admit this and take steps to recover, which includes patching and replacing any SSL certificates that may have been exposed.
  3. Once patched, notify users of the affected service that they should change their account credentials at next logon.
  4. Review firewall and server logs as far back as available and search for evidence of Heartbleed exploitation.
  5. Implement checks using their vulnerability scanning software to search for the Heartbleed vulnerability within the network and remediate and open holes.
  6. Review patching and change management policies/procedures and verify that emergency patching is covered adequately.
  7. Communicate these measures to all affected parties (management, users, customers, etc.).

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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