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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats //

Vulnerability Management

7/29/2014
05:07 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Scan Shows Possible Heartbleed Fix Failures

Study indicates many Global 2000 firms patched, but failed to replace digital certificates.

Of more than 1,600 Global 2000 firms, only 3% of their public-facing servers have been fully and properly locked down from the Heartbleed vulnerability that was first revealed nearly three months ago, new data shows.

While fewer than 1% of the external-facing servers at these enterprises remain fully vulnerable to Heartbleed, some 97% are only partially remediated from the threat, mostly because they failed to replace the private key, or revoke the old digital certificate. By not replacing the private key, an attacker could decrypt SSL traffic from the host, and by failing to revoke the old cert, an attacker could use it in phishing attacks, according to the July 2014 status report by Venafi.

"Heartbleed has been known to the world for 11 weeks now. Yet we still see evidence of thousands of systems susceptible to Heartbleed that have not even been patched yet," says Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, in an email interview. "We believe this is partly due to a 'patch-and-move-on' mentality amongst IT professionals, meaning that once the patch is addressed, they believe the security hole is plugged. This approach is something that must be changed because as attacks continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, remediation becomes more extensive requiring multiple steps aside from just patching the vulnerable system."

But Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security, says he's skeptical of the data in the report, and that it distorts the issue. He says his own scans show that 90% of externally facing sites don't use OpenSSL in the first place, so they had no reason to revoke and reissue keys.

He says the big issue is about organizations not revoking the at-risk digital certificates. "The paper doesn't mention the exact breakdown, but it's likely that the primary issue is lack of revocation of existing certificates. That is indeed something that many affected organizations haven't done, but should do," he says.

Dan Kaminsky, chief scientist at WhiteOps, says corporations have better processes in place for patching their internal servers than for working with third parties such as certificate authorities. "With an absence of evidence that keys were actually compromised, it wouldn't be surprising that the internal code was updated while the external dependency -- the new certs -- was left unaddressed," Kaminsky says.

He says it's unclear in the report whether the certificates are CA-originated ones or not. "Self-signed certs don't really offer much security at all, Heartbleed or not," he notes.

[Heartbleed wasn't the first security hole discovered in SSL deployments, and it won't be the last. Read SSL After The Heartbleed.]

Meanwhile, the risk of bad guys pilfering private keys was fairly low, says Ivan Ristic, director of Qualys's SSL Labs. That may also explain why organizations appear not to be taking the certificate issue as seriously, he notes.

The full report is available here (PDF) for download.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
securityaffairs
50%
50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
7/31/2014 | 5:21:20 PM
Re: patch only?
I have a few doubts related to the absolute data proposed. As said by Robert Grahamprobably the number of organizations that doesn't use OpenSSL in very high. 

This statement puzzles me about the quality of the "population" analyzed.
"only 3% of Their public-facing servers not have been fully and properly locked down from the Heartbleed vulnerability"
Whoopty
50%
50%
Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 10:59:45 AM
Project Zero
I wonder if major bugs like this that affect thousands of sites will become rarer in the future, thanks to efforts like Google's Project Zero security team. They've hired on the likes of Geohotz and several other amazing hackers, so it seems like they'll be able to really shore up the digital defenses of a lot of web properties. 
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/30/2014 | 9:59:51 AM
Re: patch only?
Thank you for sharing that, Ryan. I'm also curious if any org has a good reason not to patch and reissue the cert.
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 9:54:57 AM
Re: patch only?
My institution patched for Heartbleed and cycled the certs. Otherwise you won't be able to confidently say that your systems aren't exploited. The vulnerability may have allowed for forged certs to be applied and if you only patched you would not be able to detect the further exploits of the system. I would be interested to hear the validation for institutions that only patched as well. Might provide some perspective we couldn't think of.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 5:19:16 PM
patch only?
Any of our readers willing to share whether they've only patched for Heartbleed, but not revoked their digital certs? We'd love to hear your perspective on this. 
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Can Your Patching Strategy Keep Up with the Demands of Open Source?
Tim Mackey, Principal Security Strategist, CyRC, at Synopsys,  6/18/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-1874
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-20
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Prime Service Catalog Software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack on an affected system. The vulnerability is due to insufficient CSRF protection mechanisms on the web-ba...
CVE-2019-1875
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-20
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Prime Service Catalog could allow an authenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack against a user of the web-based interface. The vulnerability is due to insufficient validation of user-supplied input by t...
CVE-2019-1876
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-20
A vulnerability in the HTTPS proxy feature of Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to use the Central Manager as an HTTPS proxy. The vulnerability is due to insufficient authentication of proxy connection requests. An attacker could exp...
CVE-2019-1878
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-20
A vulnerability in the Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP) implementation for the Cisco TelePresence Codec (TC) and Collaboration Endpoint (CE) Software could allow an unauthenticated, adjacent attacker to inject arbitrary shell commands that are executed by the device. The vulnerability is due to insuff...
CVE-2019-1879
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-20
A vulnerability in the CLI of Cisco Integrated Management Controller (IMC) could allow an authenticated, local attacker to inject arbitrary commands that are executed with root privileges. The vulnerability is due to insufficient validation of user-supplied input at the CLI. An attacker could exploi...