POODLE Bites Web: SSL 3.0 Bug Patch Released

SSL 3.0 Poodle
SSL 3.0 Poodle

POODLE == (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption)

As you should probably know by now, a somewhat nasty SSL 3.0 bug has been revealed. The news is causing a lot of waves online, but the important question is whether or not a patch is on the way.

We’re going to share some of the information we have about this topic – one that is near and dear to our hearts. The SSL 3.0 protocol has been around for over a decade now, but it’s still in use here and there across the web.

The flaw has supposedly been around a while. Announcement was waiting on the availability of a patch. Today, Google went public with information about the exploitable code. Over at OpenSSL.org, here’s some of what they had to say about POODLE, the SSL 3.0 vulnerability.

“If a client and server both support a version of TLS, the security level offered by SSL 3.0 is still relevant since many clients implement a protocol downgrade dance to work around serve ­side interoperability bugs.”

Use of the RC4 stream cipher for encryption dates back to 1987 at least. It was created by Ron Rivest. Over the years, MD5 and then SHA1 replaced the RC4 cipher. Unfortunately, some recent reports have shown that huge swathes of the internet are still using the ancient RC4 cipher. TLS 1.2 is the most current technology used for encryption.

Bodo Möller from the Google Security Team told ZD Net, “Google Chrome and our servers have supported TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV since February and thus we have good evidence that it can be used without compatibility problems. Additionally, Google Chrome will begin testing changes today that disable the fallback to SSL 3.0. This change will break some sites and those sites will need to be updated quickly. In the coming months, we hope to remove support for SSL 3.0 completely from our client products.”

Here’s what the smart fellows at ThreatPost had to say:

The easiest fix for the new attack is to disable SSLv3, but that has compatibility implications for browsers, especially older ones. That could lead to problems for site operators, who typically want to support a wide range of protocols in order to serve a broad range of users. To address the problem, Moller and fellow Google security researcher Adam Langley have forwarded a mechanism known as TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV that prevents fallback attacks. 

The patch has been released and Google is taking other measures to make sure the hole is closed, but it’s still been a very interesting day online when it comes to internet security. It’s important to stay up to date on all the latest vulnerabilities these days. And that’s why the team here at SSL.com spend so much time scouring the web to find the best bits of security news available.