Making Sense of “Heartbleed”: Information Security Catastrophe/Nightmare

The term “Internet Security Nightmare” has been used.  This is not an exaggeration, and not an example of hyperbole; Heartbleed is a security catastrophe that cuts a wide swathe across the internet.

If you are not aware of the recently discovered Heartbleed flaw: An extremely critical security flaw has been identified in a cryptographic software component that affects an estimated two-thirds of Web servers, as well as many devices and programs that rely on the software component.  The flaw has been nicknamed “Heartbleed” because of the methodology used to exploit it.  The flaw allows an attacker to retrieve active contents in memory, including private security keys, unencrypted information, and usernames and passwords.

The Heartbleed flaw affects a software module that is in use by everything from routers and web servers, to some phones and devices.

Here are some steps you should take now to give yourself a fighting chance against this flaw:

1) Examine your own practice first:  Are you using hosted email, providing client portals, file upload services, or other web- or internet- enabled services for your clients?  If the services offer SSL, or access using encryption then you need to check with your hosting provider or IT company to confirm that they have patched, or otherwise mitigated the issue.

2) Change your passwords AFTER you have confirmed the service has been fixed: This flaw is being actively exploited.  If you change your password BEFORE the service is fixed, then you are still at risk.  Confirm first, change after.

3) Be aware of “password re-use”:  This flaw has existed for 2 years, and has only now come to light.  Some companies have gone back to review logs, and have found active attacks against this flaw from before March.  If you use the same password in multiple locations, then it is time to change all your passwords.  Recommended reading:   Because One Thing Leads to Another: Data Breach and Password Re-Use

I have included a simple chart below, as an example of high profile services to review (source: Mashable):

Social Networks

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
Facebook Unclear Yes Yes “We added protections for Facebook’s implementation of OpenSSL before this issue was publicly disclosed. We haven’t detected any signs of suspicious account activity, but we encourage people to … set up a unique password.”
LinkedIn No No No “We didn’t use the offending implementation of OpenSSL in http://www.linkedin.com or http://www.slideshare.net. As a result, HeartBleed does not present a risk to these web properties.”
Tumblr Yes Yes Yes “We have no evidence of any breach and, like most networks, our team took immediate action to fix the issue.”
Twitter Unclear Unclear Unclear Twitter wrote that OpenSSL “is widely used across the internet and at Twitter. We were able to determine that [our] servers were not affected by this vulnerability. We are continuing to monitor the situation.”Twitter has not yet responded to Mashable‘s request for comment.

Other Companies

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
Apple Unclear Unclear Unclear Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Amazon No No No “Amazon.com is not affected.”
Google Yes Yes Yes “We have assessed the SSL vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services.” Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Play, Apps and App Engine were affected; Google Chrome and Chrome OS were not.*Google said users do not need to change their passwords, but because of the previous vulnerability, better safe than sorry.
Microsoft No No No Microsoft services were not running OpenSSL, according to LastPass.
Yahoo Yes Yes Yes “As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began working to fix it… and we are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now.” Yahoo Homepage, Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Food, Yahoo Tech, Flickr and Tumblr were patched. More patches to come, Yahoo says.

Email

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
AOL No No No AOL told Mashable it was not running the vulnerable version of the software.
Gmail Yes Yes Yes “We have assessed the SSL vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services.”*Google said users do not need to change their passwords, but because of the previous vulnerability, better safe than sorry.
Hotmail / Outlook No No No Microsoft services were not running OpenSSL, according to LastPass.
Yahoo Mail Yes Yes Yes “As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began working to fix it… and we are working to implement the fix across the rest of our sites right now.”

Stores and Commerce

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
Amazon No No No “Amazon.com is not affected.”
Amazon Web Services(for website operators) Yes Yes Yes Most services were unaffected or Amazon was already able to apply mitigations (see advisory note here). Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon EC2, Amazon Linux AMI, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, AWS OpsWorks, AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon CloudFront were patched.
eBay Unclear Unclear Unclear “The vast majority of our services were not impacted and our users can continue to shop securely on our marketplace.”
GoDaddy Yes Yes Yes “We’ve been updating GoDaddy services that use the affected OpenSSL version.” Full Statement
PayPal No No No “Your PayPal account details were not exposed in the past and remain secure.” Full Statement
Target No No No “[We] launched a comprehensive review of all external facing aspects of Target.com… and do not currently believe that any external-facing aspects of our sites are impacted by the OpenSSL vulnerability.”

Banks and Brokerages

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
Bank of America No No No “We’re currently taking precautions and steps to protect customer data from this threat and have no reason to believe any customer data has been compromised in the past.”
Chase No No No “These sites don’t use the encryption software that is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.”
E*Trade No No No E*Trade is still investigating.
Fidelity No No No “We have multiple layers of security in place to protect our customer sites and services.”
PNC No No No “We have tested our online and mobile banking systems and confirmed that they are not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.”
Schwab No No No “Efforts to date have not detected this vulnerability on Schwab.com or any of our online channels.”
Scottrade No No No “Scottrade does not use the affected version of OpenSSL on any of our client-facing platforms.”
TD Ameritrade No No No TD Ameritrade “doesn’t use the versions of openSSL that were vulnerable.”
TD Bank No No No “We’re currently taking precautions and steps to protect customer data from this threat and have no reason to believe any customer data has been compromised in the past.”
U.S. Bank No No No “We do not use OpenSSL for customer-facing, Internet banking channels, so U.S. Bank customer data is NOT at risk.”
Wells Fargo No No No No reason provided.

Government and Taxes

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
1040.com No No No “We’re not vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, as we do not use OpenSSL.”
FileYour Taxes.com No No No “We continuously patch our servers to keep them updated. However, the version we use was not affected by the issue, so no action was taken.”
H&R Block Unclear No Unclear “We are reviewing our systems and currently have found no risk to client data from this issue.”
Healthcare .gov Unclear Unclear Unclear Healthcare.gov has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Intuit (TurboTax) Yes Yes Yes Turbotax “has examined its systems and has secured TurboTax to protect against the “Heartbleed” bug.” Full Statement
IRS Unclear Unclear Unclear “The IRS continues to accept tax returns as normal … and systems continue operating and are not affected by this bug. We are not aware of any security vulnerabilities related to this situation.”

Other

Was it affected? Is there a patch? Do you need to change your password? What did they say?
Dropbox Yes Yes Yes On Twitter: “We’ve patched all of our user-facing services & will continue to work to make sure your stuff is always safe.”
Evernote No No No “Evernote’s service, Evernote apps, and Evernote websites … all use non-OpenSSL implementations of SSL/TLS to encrypt network communications.”Full Statement
LastPass Yes Yes Yes “Though LastPass employs OpenSSL, we have multiple layers of encryption to protect our users and never have access to those encryption keys.”
Netflix Unclear Unclear Unclear “Like many companies, we took immediate action to assess the vulnerability and address it. We are not aware of any customer impact.”
OKCupid Yes Yes Yes “We, like most of the Internet, were stunned that such a serious bug has existed for so long and was so widespread.”
SoundCloud Yes Yes Yes “We will be signing out everyone from their SoundCloud accounts … and when you sign back in, the fixes we’ve already put in place will take effect.”
Spark Networks (JDate, Christian Mingle) No No No Sites do not use OpenSSL.
Wunderlist Yes Yes YesYes “You’ll have to simply log back into Wunderlist. We also strongly recommend that you reset your password for Wunderlist.”Full Statement

One Response to Making Sense of “Heartbleed”: Information Security Catastrophe/Nightmare

  1. […]  If you don’t know what “Heartbleed” is, you will need to.  You can view the Inforensics Blog post, to catch […]

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