By Mark Hatle
An attack on the SSLv2 protocol, was disclosed this week by security researchers. Visit https://drownattack.com if you want to get straight to the scoop.
This is yet another in a long string of attacks on the SSLv2 protocol, including the well publicized Heartbleed issue from a few years ago.
This protocol was considered to be so insecure that in 2011, an RFC was created to deprecate the SSLv2 protocol. In fact, the attack specifically targeted the older code base (before it was refactored), knowing that there were more vulnerabilities.
The scary bit – they choose wisely, since most deployed devices are seldom, if at all, updated.
In many recent vulnerability notices, Man-in-the-Middle attacks have been found to exploit the weakness in SSLv2. Most of these attacks use weak or obsolete encryption models, or exploit other issues that make it easier due to the weakness inherent in SSLv2. As part of the CVE-2016-0800 patch for OpenSSL, the community has decided that it is time to disable SSLv2 by default, as well as many of the weaker SSLv3 ciphers.
Wind River Linux, where possible, has provided hot fix patches for CVE-2016-0800 to match the community suggestions. While the product policy is to avoid changing the configuration of components in released products, and in this case I believe it is the right thing to do. Customers may choose to re-enable the code with simple configuration change, but I would advise against it.
Moving forward, it is important to track further attacks on SSLv2 to scope out the risks for older devices. At some point, perhaps now, we’re at a place where older devices need to be updated or they need to be treated with suspicion. It is important that new designs no longer use SSLv2 or any weak ciphers.
Most importantly – keep your devices updated!