Remediating Heartbleed with Next-Generation Trust Protection

April 24, 2014 | Leave a Comment

Heartbleed Impact

The Heartbleed vulnerability unequivocally demonstrates the impact a single vulnerability has on all organizations when keys and certificates are exposed. Cyber-criminals have unfettered access to the keys and certificates on vulnerable systems, without any trace. Researchers that identified the vulnerability sum up the impact simply, “any protection given by the encryption and the signatures in the X.509 certificates can be bypassed” (Heartbleed) You must assume all keys and certificates are compromised and immediately replace them to remediate. Unfortunately, most organizations cannot!

The vulnerability is not limited to webservers, it impacts any system running OpenSSL 1.0.1 – 1.0.1f. This includes mail servers, chat servers, VPN’s, network appliance, client software, VOIP phones and more. Hundreds of software applications from security vendors have already confirmed their software as being susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability.

Next-Generation Trust Protection for Next-Generation Threats

Venafi Trust Protection Platform provides holistic remediation from the Heartbleed vulnerability. Via TrustAuthority and TrustForce, organizations are able to quickly identify any system susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability, regardless if it is a publicly facing web server or on the internal network and remediate.

Venafi TrustAuthority can quickly identify systems impacted by the Heartbleed vulnerability, establish how many keys and certificates are in use, where they are used, and who is responsible for them. Once TrustAuthority defines a comprehensive inventory of all X.509 certificates, they need to be replaced.

Venafi TrustForce uses lightweight agent and agentless technologies to automate complex activities, including rekeying and recertification, for which manual processes might open vulnerabilities. With TrustForce, the remediation of keys and certificates is completely automated and secure.

The following step-by-step process outlines how organizations can automate remediation of the Heartbleed vulnerability using both TrustAuthority and TrustForce with the Vulnerability Remediation Plugin.

Step 1:

Using TrustAuthority, identify any server that may be susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability. This can be achieved by scanning both your internal and public networks.

Venafi Search

Once vulnerable systems have been identified, patch them by upgrading to OpenSSL 1.0.1g OR recompile the OpenSSL library with the OPENSSL_NO_HEARTBEATS flag

Step 2:

Identify keys and certificates that need to be fixed based on knowledge of vulnerable applications.

Venafi search results

As you review results from various search types, you can select certificates individually or in groups.

Step 3:

The generation of keys and X.509 certificates is automated via the Work Queue. However, prior to initiating a Work Queue, it is critical to make sure that a new private key is generated to remediate further compromise as a result of the private key being stolen via the Heartbleed vulnerability.

From within the Policy tree under a policy object or certificate object ensure that your certificate does not have the “Reuse Private key” option selected.

Venafi prive key edit

Step 4 – 5:

Using TrustAuthority and TrustForce together, the new private key generation, CSR, secure distribution, installation and revocation process for certificates is all performed automatically via the Work Queue. For organizations that only have TrustAuthority, the secure distribution and installation is manual.

Select work type

Step 6 – 8:

Once all publicly facing servers susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability are remediated by patching OpenSSL and replacing the private key and certificates, steps 1 – 5 should be repeated for all internal servers impacted by the vulnerability.

Step 9:

Validation of the Heartbleed remediation is critical to success. For this you should validate all keys and certificates are replaced, detect anomalies and alert the organization on any related security events at least every 24 hours.

Contact Venafi to help accelerate your Heartbleed remediation.

By Gavin Hill
Director, Product Marketing and Threat Intelligence


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