Hackers prepping for OpenSSL Heartbleed attacks

While security pros hustle to patch Web sites affected by the widespread OpenSSL flaw nicknamed Heartbleed, there are indications that cybercriminals are hoping to beat them to the punch.

A list of more than 10,000 domains that were vulnerable, patched or unaffected by the bug was found on Pastebin by Easy Solutions. The fraud prevention company believes hackers are most likely behind the list.

"A lot of time what these guys will do is dump a list of inventory on Pastebin, cut that link and then share the link with their friends on a (underground) forum," Daniel Ingevaldson, chief technology officer for Easy Solutions, said. "So, it's essentially a billboard for a service."

Wide-scale scanning for vulnerable sites is underway across the Internet, Ingevaldson said. Much of the scanning is being done for legitimate reasons, while the rest is by hackers looking for potential victims.

"We're seeing a systematic canvassing of the entire Internet right now to see what's vulnerable and what isn't," Ingevaldson said. "It's a bit of a gold rush."

Many free scanning tools are available on the Web to test sites for the flawed OpenSSL library, which has been in use for about two years. OpenSSL is the open source implementation of Secure Sockets Layer, which is used to encrypt communications between a web browser and server. The vulnerability makes it possible to read the memory of the server and steal credentials, passwords and other data.

At least a half million servers, or 17 percent of secure websites, were reportedly vulnerable, presenting a large target for cybercriminals who reach the sites before their operators can apply the freely available patch.

However, finding a vulnerable site is much easier than exploiting the flaw, experts say. But while it may be fairly difficult now, hackers share information and toolkits, which may make the task easier in the future.

Websites are not the only entities vulnerable to an OpenSSL attack. Cloud-based apps are also potential targets. Netskope, a cloud app analytics company, has a running tally of vulnerable apps that are used by enterprises. The company's list had reached 100 as of Thursday.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hackersOpenSSLapplicationsHeartbleedvulnerabilitysoftwarePastebindata protection

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Antone Gonsalves

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place