Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


12:00 PM
Rob Tate
Rob Tate
Connect Directly
E-Mail vvv

'POODLE' One Year Later: Still Around? Not So Much

As high-severity vulnerabilities go, POODLE remediation rates and times have proven to be astonishingly better than expected.

It’s been a year since the original version of the POODLE vulnerability hit the news. Since then, there have been several new incarnations keeping this SSL/TLS issue alive in the nightmares of IT professionals and vendors everywhere.

The ones we have the most data on are the original (CVE-2014-3566) and the “POODLE TLS” (CVE-2014-8730 and others), which we internally nicknamed “Zombie POODLE.” Note that while CVE-2014-8730 should technically only be used for F5, in practice it was used to refer to many implementations of TLS 1.x.

True, people are still vulnerable to this issue, as raw lifetime stats for two vulnerabilities show:

Table 1: A DOG'S LIFE
Total Found 13610 1887
Currently Open 2983 553
Currently Closed 10593 1325
% Closed 78% 70%
Average Time-to-Fix 34d 16h 67d 7h

But, as regular readers of our annual stats report know, even for high-severity issues, these remediation rates and times are astonishingly good.

Fixed so fast
Here is the trend of remediation for POODLE, and for comparison CVE-2012-1823, another severe vulnerability, but one that did not have a big impact from a public perception perspective. When comparing remediation, I like to graph the remediation time distribution. The Y-axis here is number of distinct vulnerabilities closed with a time-to-fix in the range on the X-axis.

The CVEs above are both severe and well-known issues to application security professionals. That’s partly because both vulnerbailities were exploited frequently. But even very common, severe issues like XSS and SQLi do not get the quick response we saw with POODLE. The overall curve is generally true of severe issues: Most of the vulnerabilities that are closed are done so pretty quickly. But the average remediation time for the PHP bug is 106 days vs. POODLE’s 35.

In my opinion, there are four inter-related reasons why POODLE was addressed so quickly:

  1. Lots of applications affected 
  2. Lots of attention at executive/board level 
  3. Lots of media coverage 
  4. Lots of vendor attention (and patching)

What’s in a name?
Beyond the above list, it’s entirely possible that giving this vulnerability a name was the most important factor, more so than the fact that it actually affected large numbers of sites. Giving widespread vulnerabilities names has become a trend in the security industry and while some have proven to be overhyped, it’s at least gotten the security conversation into C-level and boardroom discussions.

Google Trends offers a graphical illustration of public interest over time, based on a world wide web search on the CVEs from January 2012 to November 2015.  

No two issues are exactly alike, nor are the circumstances around their coverage. However, I think it’s safe to say that coming on the heels of Shellshock and Heartbleed -- and  having a memorable name -- had a big impact on the short time-to-fix for P00DLE.

Rob Tate serves as the senior manager for WhiteHat Security's Threat Research Center. In this role, Rob researches emerging threats and how businesses can successfully protect themselves against vulnerabilities. Before focusing on research, Rob began at WhiteHat as an ... View Full Bio
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Breaches Are Inevitable, So Embrace the Chaos
Ariel Zeitlin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, Guardicore,  11/13/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Null pointer dereference vulnerability exists in K11_SignWithSymKey / ssl3_ComputeRecordMACConstantTime in NSS before 3.26, which causes the TLS/SSL server using NSS to crash.
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Jetty 6.x before 6.1.22 suffers from an escape sequence injection vulnerability from two different vectors: 1) "Cookie Dump Servlet" and 2) Http Content-Length header. 1) A POST request to the form at "/test/cookie/" with the "Age" parameter set to a string throws a &qu...
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
Perdition before 2.2 may have weak security when handling outbound connections, caused by an error in the STARTTLS IMAP and POP server. ssl_outgoing_ciphers not being applied to STARTTLS connections
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
ClamAV before 0.97.7 has WWPack corrupt heap memory
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
ClamAV before 0.97.7 has buffer overflow in the libclamav component