Security experts have detected four serious vulnerabilities in OpenSSL, an open source implementation of the Secure
Sockets Layer (SSL v2/v3)
Software Engineering Institute (CERT).
The flaws, commonly known as buffer overflows, could be used by a malicious perpetrator to execute code on a system, or simply to
OpenSSL prior to 0.9.6e, up to and including pre-release 0.9.7-beta2, as well as OpenSSL pre-release 0.9.7-beta2 and prior with
Kerberos-enabled SSLeay library.
SSL and TLS protocols are used to provide a secure connection between a client and a server for higher level protocols,
such as HTTP. Developed by Netscape, SSL gained the support of Microsoft and other Internet client/server developers and became the
de facto standard until evolving into TLS. OpenSSL is an open-source derivative of SSL and TLS. OpenSSL stands apart from the other
two in that it also functions as a cryptography library.
The vulnerabilities were enough to make one security company issue a cautionary public statement:
“The wide proliferation of servers that utilize SSL to protect encrypted sessions, may make these vulnerabilities significant,” said Bruce Murphy, CEO of Vigilinx. “At this point, we are not aware of any damage that has been inflicted due to this vulnerability, but we believe that the potential for damage is high and a proactive response is warranted.”
The flaws include:
using a malformed key during the handshake process with an SSL server connection
by sending a large session ID to the client during the handshake process.
process. Users may exploit this if a malicious client sends a malformed key during the SSLv3 handshake process with the server
CERT Tuesday also warned of holes involving malformed ASN.1 encodings in OpenSSL. Those affected include SSL or TLS
applications, as well as S/MIME, PKCS#7, and certificate creation routines. Wit this flaw, the ASN.1 library has various encoding
errors that allow malformed certificate encodings to be parsed incorrectly, leaving it open to denial-of-service issues.
Sites running OpenSSL pre-release version 0.9.7-beta2 may wish to upgrade to 0.9.7-beta3. Combined patches for OpenSSL 0.9.7 beta 2
may be found here.
After either applying the patches above or upgrading to 0.9.6e, CERT advises users to recompile all applications using OpenSSL to
support SSL or TLS services, and restart services or systems to punt vulnerable code.
CERT was made aware of the holes by: VU#102795, discovered by A.L. Digital Ltd and John McDonald of Neohapsis; VU#258555, VU#561275,
VU#308891, discovered by A.L. Digital Ltd; and VU#748355, discovered by Adi Stav and James Yonan independently.