Critical Open SSL Vulnerability: What should you know

Critical OpenSSL vulnerability: What should you know?

By Peter Bin
February 14, 2023

Update November 1st 2022 17:37

The severity of this Spooky SSL vulnerability is downgraded to High. This vulnerability allows an attacker to craft a malicious certificate causing a client, server, or application to crash (resulting in a DoS) or potentially remote code execution. There are no signs of active abuse so far. The solution is to upgrade to OpenSSL 3.0.7 or isolate the system/application.

Update November 1st 2022 14:45

SecurityHive’s Vulnerability Management is able to scan this as a vulnerability since yesterday evening. Make sure you start an authenticated scan.

What is OpenSSL?

OpenSSL is an open-source software library used for SSL and TLS connections (for example, an HTTPS or RDP connection). Almost every software uses OpenSSL for its SSL/TLS connections.

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What’s happening?

While OpenSSL is a widely used & battle-tested solution and undergoes a lot of penetration tests, sometimes a new vulnerability is discovered.

The OpenSSL project team announced the release of OpenSSL version 3.0.7, which will become available on Tuesday, the 1st of November 2022, between 13:00 – 17:00 UTC. This version is a security-fix release with a CRITICAL severity.

Why is it so important?

OpenSSL is used for encrypting your connections. A vulnerability in OpenSSL may have one or more of the following outcomes:

  1. Your connection can be decrypted, get intercepted, or modified, which results in an attacker being able to read the data (including passwords, cookies, sessions, and form data) flowing over this connection. This is both a security and privacy incident.

  2. An attacker is able to execute a DoS attack on your system, resulting in your system becoming unreachable or offline.

  3. Parts of your system and/or memory becomes accessible to an attacker.

At this moment, we’re not sure what will be the outcome of this vulnerability, as the details are not specified yet. OpenSSL only announced it so everyone can schedule some patch time in their calendars and get ready. We’ll update this article once more information is available.

Am I affected?

The vulnerability exists in all OpenSSL 3.0.x versions and is fixed in OpenSSL 3.0.7. Check if your system has an OpenSSL 3.0.x version installed.

It’s easy to check using a vulnerability scan (authenticated scan preferred).

Asset Management will show you the list of applications installed on systems and therefore show you which assets are vulnerable.