OpenSSL patch quashes rare HTTPS nasty, shores up crypto chops

Feet up for the many, head's down and patch for the rest.


OpenSSL maintainers have pushed a pair of patches, crushing a dangerous but uncommon bug that allows HTTPS to be unravelled while also hardening servers against downgrade attacks.

Affected servers are open to key recovery attacks only if it runs certain Digital Signature Algorithm and static Diffie-Hellman key exchange subgroups, while running OpenSSL version 1.0.2.

The high severity bug (CVE-2016-0701) revealed by Adobe engineer Antonio Sanso and which is fixed in version 1.0.2f.

Carnegie Mellon University CERT Garret Wassermann explains the crypto conundrum that will tickle many a neckbeard-owner.

OpenSSL 1.0.2 introduced the ability to generate X9.42 style parameter files as required by RFC 5114. The primes generated in this mode may be 'unsafe', enabling generation of groups containing small subgroups, which may allow for cryptographic attacks that may recover the key. OpenSSL prior to 1.0.2f did not properly check for this possibility.

Furthermore, OpenSSL prior to 1.0.2f will by default reuse this number for the life of the process. Such a number, particularly if re-used, severely weakens applications of the Diffie-Hellman protocol such as TLS, allowing an attacker in some scenarios to possibly determine the Diffie-Hellman private exponent and decrypt the underlying traffic.

It requires attackers complete multiple handshakes with OpenSSL targets that use the same private Diffie Hellman exponent.

The fix will also reject weak 768 bit Diffie-Hellman handshakes now requiring 1024 bits upping crypto chops.

The project's also addressed CVE-2015-3197, which means "A malicious client can negotiate SSLv2 ciphers that have been disabled on the server and complete SSLv2 handshakes even if all SSLv2 ciphers have been disabled, provided that the SSLv2 protocol was not also disabled via SSL_OP_NO_SSLv2."

This one's an easy fix: if you run OpenSSL 1.0.2 upgrade to 1.0.2f. OpenSSL 1.0.1 users should upgrade to 1.0.1r. ®


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