heartbleed

We would like to reassure all our customers that SHE Software systems and services are completely unaffected by the heartbleed security flaw.

Heartbleed emerged this week as a major security flaw at the heart of the internet that may have been exposing users’ personal information and passwords to hackers for the past two years.

It is not known how widely the bug has been exploited, if at all, but what is clear is that it is one of the biggest security issues to have faced the internet to date.  Security expert Brue Schneier described it as “catastrophic”. “On the scale of one to 10, this is an 11.”

You might be aware of the current issues surrounding a vulnerability in the heartbleed extension of OpenSSL, the open-source cryptographic library.  All SHE software systems and services are unaffected, while we do use Linux based load-balancers we do not use the vulnerable extension, so were never exposed to any risk.

Alan Gunn, Customer Service & Product Manager, SHE Software

What is the Heartbleed bug?

The bug exists in a piece of open source software called OpenSSL which is designed to encrypt communications between a user’s computer and a web server, a sort of secret handshake at the beginning of a secure conversation.

It was dubbed Heartbleed because it affects an extension to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which engineers dubbed Heartbeat.

It is one of the most widely used encryption tools on the internet, believed to be deployed by roughly two-thirds of all websites. If you see a little padlock symbol in your browser then it is likely that you are using SSL.

Half a million sites are thought to have been affected.

In his blog chief technology officer of Co3 Systems Bruce Schneier said: “The Heartbleed bug allows anyone 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 name and passwords of the users and the actual content,” he said.

“This allows attackers to eavesdrop communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users,” he added.

 

For more information on the heartbleed bug and information on improving the robustness of your passwords we recommend visiting this article written by the BBC technology department.