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Why Heartbleed, the Latest
Cybersecurity Scare, Matters

Businessweek, by Joshua Brustein

Original Article

Posted By:earlybird, 4/9/2014 2:00:42 PM

Another day, another terrifying computer security vulnerability. A hole in a widely used encryption technology has given hackers a way to infiltrate many of the world’s largest websites and download sensitive information from their servers without leaving a trace. The problem, dubbed Heartbleed, has existed for two years, but was recently discovered by researchers at Google, setting off a scramble to fix it. Trying to track new security vulnerabilities can be dizzying, but here’s why this one is worth paying attention to: It affects services you use. The problem is a shortcoming of OpenSSL, which is supposed to protect,

Comments:
Skate by this article at your own peril.

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: LittleHoodedMonk, 4/9/2014 2:41:12 PM     (No. 9804434)

One has to rightfully assume that HeathCare.gov has had this problem from the start which means all their data can be compromised. This is NOT a "glitch." When will the White House breathlessly announce the flaw to their software and a fix? Yet, more delays. BTW, does this include electronic filing of Income Tax forms?

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Reply 2 - Posted by: dman, 4/9/2014 6:20:59 PM     (No. 9804698)

From Prof. Green´s analysis referenced in the article:

"The problem is fairly simple: there´s a tiny vulnerability -- a simple missing bounds check -- in the code that handles TLS ´heartbeat´ messages. By abusing this mechanism, an attacker can request that a running TLS server hand over a relatively large slice (up to 64KB) of its private memory space. Since this is the same memory space where OpenSSL also stores the server´s private key material, an attacker can potentially obtain (a) long-term server private keys, (b) TLS session keys, (c) confidential data like passwords, (d) session ticket keys."

Those who can follow this into the "weeds" will agree this is a pretty fundamental oversight. Coders are human, and make mistakes in addition to their tendency to intentionally include "back doors" for convenience. But where was the thorough review procedure to ensure that these mistakes did not propagate throughout critical infrastructure? A lot of people "screwed up" on this one, and our identites are at risk.

Another case for a biometric, database corroborated, Constitutionally protected, National ID. The database must be secured using the most stringent DoD measures. Social Security numbers and passwords are simply not enough. What good is securing our military infrastructure, if the nation´s economy collapses due to lack of internet security?

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Reply 3 - Posted by: dman, 4/9/2014 6:34:33 PM     (No. 9804705)

I should have added that identity theft should be a felony, right up there with grand larceny, and not a misdemeanor.

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