October 15, 2014, Mike Weber, Vice President, Coalfire Labs
The POODLE vulnerability is due to a bug in SSL protocol, whereas Heartbleed and Shellshock were vulnerability due to a bug in software. Heartbleed and Shellshock were confined to systems that ran vulnerable versions of software, whereas POODLE affects any system running any software that implements SSL 3.0, which is a widely implemented protocol used to provide encrypted network transmissions. This is an “industry-wide” vulnerability. Of Heartbleed and Shellshock, POODLE is most similar to Heartbleed as both Heartbleed and POODLE exploit vulnerabilities having to do with SSL.
How serious is this vulnerability when compared with Heartbleed and Shellshock?
Can you please detail what the exploit can do potentially, briefly?
The POODLE attack can potentially allow an attacker to decrypt SSL secured network transmissions between two nodes – exposing any data sent between them. Examples of this could include usernames and passwords used to log into any websites that use SSL 3.0, along with any other sensitive data sent to those websites. Successful exploitation can only be performed if an attacker that is “between” both ends of the connection.
What are the potential risks for organizations? How can this affect them?
The most obvious risk for an organization is exposing sensitive client data for users of their web applications. However, many organizations rely on external websites and applications to run their day to day business. For example, a business may manage finances in real time using a provider’s website, or a business may have outsourced IT solutions to a cloud provider and they manage these systems through a web console. Those connections from the company to these systems could be vulnerable as well.
What steps should they be taking to mitigate the risks from this attack?
Disable SSL 3.0 support on all browsers used by all staff within the organization, and disable SSL SSL 3.0 on webservers in favor of TLS. SSL has a built-in fallback from TLS to SSL 3.0 – thus, this recommendation may cause compatibility problems with legacy systems.
Is this the patch from Microsoft addressing this “Poodle” vulnerability?
Yes, it is: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/3009008.aspx
Anything else you’d like to add regarding this vulnerability?
Although it’s an “industry-wide” vulnerability, the attack scenario is quite challenging and not likely to cause wide-spread compromise. In order to execute a successful attack, the attacker needs to 1) be able to interfere with the client’s initial network connection using TLS to force a “downgrade” to SSL 3.0, 2) be able to cause the client send repeated connections to a ‘known trusted site’, and 3) be able to intercept and modify those packets before transmission to the server.
Mike Weber — Vice President, Coalfire Labs
Coalfire started in 2001 with a simple idea – cyber threats are increasing, compliance mandates are getting more complicated, and a well-designed cybersecurity program can help fuel your overall success.
Coalfire helps organizations comply with global financial, government, industry and healthcare mandates while helping build the IT infrastructure and security systems that will protect their business from security breaches and data theft. The company is a leading provider of IT advisory services for security in retail, payments, healthcare, financial services, higher education, hospitality, government and utilities.
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Security is a team game. If your organization values both independence and security, perhaps we should become partners.
The increased need for cyber security has become a common enterprise priority across the globe. However, industry requirements for effective cyber risk management are as distinct as the individual entities under fire. Enterprises and government organizations need more than an off-the-shelf audit to provide an effective threat assessment. They need industry- and organization-specific insights, tools and processes to protect digital assets and ensure compliance.
Coalfire can help cloud service providers prioritize the cyber risks to the company, and find the right cyber risk management and compliance efforts that keeps customer data secure, and helps differentiate products.
“Success” at a government entity looks different than at a commercial organization. Create cybersecurity solutions to support your mission goals with a team that understands your unique requirements.
The financial services industry was built upon security and privacy. As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, a strong vault and a guard at the door won’t offer any protection against phishing, DDoS attacks and IT infrastructure breaches.
The continuum of care is a concept involving an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of care. Interoperability is the central idea to this care continuum making it possible to have the right information at the right time for the right people to make the right decisions.
Maintaining network and data security in any large organization is a major challenge for information systems departments. However, in the higher education environment, the protection of IT assets and sensitive information must be balanced with the need for ‘openness’ and academic freedom; making this a more difficult and complex task.
When it comes to cyber threats, the hospitality industry is not a friendly place. Hotels and resorts have proven to be a favorite target for cyber criminals who are looking for high transaction volume, large databases and low barriers to entry.
The payments industry is undergoing rapid changes and unfortunately, an increasing risk for data breaches. Cyber criminals are growing increasingly businesslike, and payments leaders need to move quickly to cover their cyber risk.
The food and beverage industry is under attack from cyber criminals intent on stealing payment information. The food and beverage industry makes up the highest percentage of breach investigations, at nearly 73 percent, according to Visa.
The global retail industry has become the top target for cyber terrorists, and the impact of this onslaught has been staggering to merchants. To secure the complex IT infrastructure of a retail environment, merchants must embrace enterprise-wide cyber risk management practices that reduces risk, minimizes costs and provides security to their customers and their bottom line.
Private enterprises serving government and state agencies need to be upheld to the same information management practices and standards as the organizations they serve. Coalfire has over 16 years of experience helping companies navigate increasing complex governance and risk standards for public institutions and their IT vendors.
Technology innovations are enabling new methods for corporations and governments to operate and driving changes in consumer behavior. The companies delivering these technology products are facilitating business transformation that provides new operating models, increased efficiency and engagement with consumers as businesses seek a competitive advantage.
Cybersecurity has entered the list of the top five concerns for U.S. electric utilities, and with good reason. According to the Department of Homeland Security, attacks on the utilities industry are rising "at an alarming rate."
Cyber risk management, advisory, technology and compliance services. Manage risk and maximize return on investment to prevent data breaches and theft. Coalfire’s solutions are led by a team of industry experts that help enterprise organizations understand a wide range of compliance and risk management initiatives, which enables a consistent cybersecurity framework across the organization.
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