OpenSSL patches a severe but not widespread problem

In some instances, OpenSSL will reuse prime numbers

The OpenSSL project has patched a problem in the cryptographic library but one that likely does not affect many popular applications.

OpenSSL enables SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption. Most websites use it, which is indicated in Web browsers with a padlock symbol.

It's an open-source library that is widely used in applications for secure data transfers. After serious vulnerabilities were found in OpenSSL over the last couple of years, the application has been under much scrutiny by security researchers.

The latest vulnerability affects versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2. The updated versions are 1.0.2f and 1.0.1r.

In some cases, OpenSSL reuses prime numbers when using the Diffie-Hellman protocol, which could allow an attacker to possibly crack the encryption.

There are some mitigating factors. An attacker would have to complete multiple handshakes with the computer he or she is trying to compromise.

However, the option that reuses prime numbers is not on by default, and most applications likely are not at risk if that option has not been changed, according to the advisory.

OpenSSL underpins two of the most widely used Web servers, Apache and nginx. The code library is also used to protect email servers, chat servers, virtual private networks and other networking appliances.

The discovery of an alarming flaw called Heartbleed in April 2014 prompted a wide examination of OpenSSL. An audit was launched with the aim of eliminating years-old but unknown flaws.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags OpenSSL Project

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?