Everything you need to know about the Heartbleed Bug

14 Cards

CURATED BY Timothy B. Lee

2014-06-19 09:57:57 -0400

  1. What is the Heartbleed Bug?
  2. What should you do to protect yourself from the Heartbleed Bug?
  3. Which websites are affected?
  4. What is SSL?
  5. What's OpenSSL?
  6. How does the heartbleed attack work?
  7. Who discovered the vulnerability?
  8. How did the Heartbleed bug get added to OpenSSL?
  9. What information can you get with a Heartbleed attack?
  10. Who might take advantage of the Heartbleed Bug?
  11. Have there been any successful attacks using the Heartbleed bug?
  12. What is being done to prevent future problems like Heartbleed?
  13. You didn't answer my question!
  14. How have these cards changed?
  1. Card 1 of 14

    What is the Heartbleed Bug?

    The Heartbleed bug is a serious flaw in OpenSSL, encryption software that powers a lot of secure communications on the web. It was announced by computer security researchers on April 7, 2014.

    Here's how it works: the SSL standard includes a heartbeat option, which allows a computer at one end of an SSL connection to send a short message to verify that the other computer is still online and get a response back. Researchers found that it's possible to send a cleverly formed, malicious heartbeat message that tricks the computer at the other end into divulging secret information. Specifically, a vulnerable computer can be tricked into transmitting the contents of the server's memory, known as RAM.

    Ed Felten, a computer scientist at Princeton (and, disclosure, my former graduate advisor) says that attackers using the technique can "sort through that information by doing pattern matching to try to find secret keys, passwords, and personal information like credit card numbers."

    I don't need to explain why exposing passwords and credit card numbers could be harmful. But exposing secret keys can be even worse. This is the information servers use to unscramble encrypted information it receives. If an attacker obtains a server's private keys, it can read any information sent to it. It may even be able to use the secret key to impersonate the server, tricking users into divulging their password and other sensitive information.

    SInce the bug was announced, website operators have scrambled to update their software and take other precautions required to secure their sites. The precise number of affected websites isn't known, but the vulnerability is believed to affect a significant fraction of all secure sites on the web.

    Because the Heartbleed attack is generally focused on servers, there was nothing users could do to protect themselves when using a vulnerable website. But once a secure website had fixed the problem, users had to update their software to ensure that previously-captured passwords were not used for malicious purposes.

  2. Card 2 of 14

    What should you do to protect yourself from the Heartbleed Bug?

  3. Card 3 of 14

    Which websites are affected?

  4. Card 4 of 14

    What is SSL?

  5. Card 5 of 14

    What's OpenSSL?

  6. Card 6 of 14

    How does the heartbleed attack work?

  7. Card 7 of 14

    Who discovered the vulnerability?

  8. Card 8 of 14

    How did the Heartbleed bug get added to OpenSSL?

  9. Card 9 of 14

    What information can you get with a Heartbleed attack?

  10. Card 10 of 14

    Who might take advantage of the Heartbleed Bug?

  11. Card 11 of 14

    Have there been any successful attacks using the Heartbleed bug?

  12. Card 12 of 14

    What is being done to prevent future problems like Heartbleed?

  13. Card 13 of 14

    You didn't answer my question!

  14. Card 14 of 14

    How have these cards changed?

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