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Important! Heartbleed Bug - Inspire Response

by  David Dwyer on  09/04/2014    1791 Reads

Advice on what to do if you have Linux based website hosting

Important! Heartbleed Bug - Inspire Response
I attended a BNI Fair City meeting on Wednesday 9th April at 0645 a bit bleary eyed, unbeknownst to my fellow BNI'ers I'd been up far earlier dealing with a web security issue.

Interested? You should be, so read on as the Heartbleed Bug had been identified.

What is it?
"The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs). "

In terms of popularity about 3/4 of the web use this.

"The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users."


Who can this affect?
66% of the web runs on the 2 servers types that are affected. This could be your favourite social site, email, company website, online shop, ... If you use the web for data transfer e.g. through the "Internet of Things" then you could also be compromised. 

How did we find out?
We picked up that there was a vulnerability at 0211am on 9th April via one of our Security monitoring feeds.

By 3am we had contacted our Hosting providers out of hours support and planned the implementation of the necessary patch.

This involved updating the OpenSSL libraries on all servers to the patched version. We also advised to reissue both primary and secondary keys to prevent any previous comprises being continued.

All work was completed by the time I needed to go for a shower and head off to BNI for our 0645 meeting,

We have no indication that Inspire servers were a target of such an attack, but web admins wishing to be extra cautious may wish to re-set their password within your content management systems. We recommend doing this for all sites you use, not just your content management systems.

David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos
Developer SOS, Heartbleed Bug, Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services, Server OpenSSL Vulnerability, The Evolving Web
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