December 18, 2018

The OpenSSL project releases new versions of its software to squash 12 security vulnerabilities

openssl-logo(LiveHacking.Com) – The OpenSSL Project announced on March 16th that it would make a new release of its OpenSSL suite to fix a number security defects. As promised the project published three new versions today, OpenSSL versions 1.0.2a, 1.0.1m, 1.0.0r and 0.9.8zf. The highest severity defect fixed by these releases is classified as High.

Before looking at the defects which have been fixed, it is worth noting that the project has reclassified its advisory about the FREAK vulnerability from Low to High. It was previously classified as Low severity because it was originally thought that server RSA export ciphersuite support was rare: a client was only vulnerable to a MITM attack against a server which supports an RSA export ciphersuite. Recent studies have shown that RSA export ciphersuites support is far more common.

The new security advisory lists only one High severity fix, for CVE-2015-0291 – ClientHello sigalgs DoS.  If a client connects to an OpenSSL 1.0.2 server and renegotiates with an invalid signature algorithms extension a NULL pointer dereference will occur. This can be exploited in a DoS attack against the server. This issue affects OpenSSL version 1.0.2.

The rest of the bug fixes are rated as Moderate or Low:

  • Multiblock corrupted pointer (CVE-2015-0290) – Severity: Moderate – OpenSSL 1.0.2 introduced the “multiblock” performance improvement. This feature only applies on 64 bit x86 architecture platforms that support AES NI instructions. A defect in the implementation of “multiblock” can cause OpenSSL’s internal write buffer to become incorrectly set to NULL when using non-blocking IO. Typically, when the user application is using a socket BIO for writing, this will only result in a failed connection. However if some other BIO is used then it is likely that a segmentation fault will be triggered, thus enabling a potential DoS attack.
  • Segmentation fault in DTLSv1_listen (CVE-2015-0207) – Severity: Moderate – The DTLSv1_listen function is intended to be stateless and processes the initial ClientHello from many peers. It is common for user code to loop over the call to DTLSv1_listen until a valid ClientHello is received with an associated cookie. A defect in the implementation of DTLSv1_listen means that state is preserved in the SSL object from one invocation to the next that can lead to a segmentation fault. Errors processing the initial ClientHello can trigger this scenario. An example of such an error could be that a DTLS1.0 only client is attempting to connect to a DTLS1.2 only server.
  • Segmentation fault in ASN1_TYPE_cmp (CVE-2015-0286) – Severity: Moderate – The function ASN1_TYPE_cmp will crash with an invalid read if an attempt is made to compare ASN.1 boolean types. Since ASN1_TYPE_cmp is used to check certificate signature algorithm consistency this can be used to crash any certificate verification operation and exploited in a DoS attack. Any application which performs certificate verification is vulnerable including OpenSSL clients and servers which enable client authentication.
  • Segmentation fault for invalid PSS parameters (CVE-2015-0208) – Severity: Moderate – The signature verification routines will crash with a NULL pointer dereference if presented with an ASN.1 signature using the RSA PSS algorithm and invalid parameters. Since these routines are used to verify certificate signature algorithms this can be used to crash any certificate verification operation and exploited in a DoS attack. Any application which performs certificate verification is vulnerable including OpenSSL clients and servers which enable client authentication.
  • ASN.1 structure reuse memory corruption (CVE-2015-0287) – Severity: Moderate – Reusing a structure in ASN.1 parsing may allow an attacker to cause memory corruption via an invalid write. Such reuse is and has been strongly discouraged and is believed to be rare.
  • PKCS7 NULL pointer dereferences (CVE-2015-0289) – Severity: Moderate – The PKCS#7 parsing code does not handle missing outer ContentInfo correctly. An attacker can craft malformed ASN.1-encoded PKCS#7 blobs with missing content and trigger a NULL pointer dereference on parsing.
  • Base64 decode (CVE-2015-0292) – Severity: Moderate – A vulnerability existed in previous versions of OpenSSL related to the processing of base64 encoded data. Any code path that reads base64 data from an untrusted source could be affected (such as the PEM processing routines). Maliciously crafted base 64 data could trigger a segmenation fault or memory corruption. This was addressed in previous versions of OpenSSL but has not been included in any security advisory until now.
  • DoS via reachable assert in SSLv2 servers (CVE-2015-0293) – Severity: Moderate – A malicious client can trigger an OPENSSL_assert (i.e., an abort) in servers that both support SSLv2 and enable export cipher suites by sending a specially crafted SSLv2 CLIENT-MASTER-KEY message.
  • Empty CKE with client auth and DHE (CVE-2015-1787) – Severity: Moderate – If client auth is used then a server can seg fault in the event of a DHE ciphersuite being selected and a zero length ClientKeyExchange message being sent by the client. This could be exploited in a DoS attack.
  • Handshake with unseeded PRNG (CVE-2015-0285) – Severity: Low – Under certain conditions an OpenSSL 1.0.2 client can complete a handshake with an unseeded PRNG.
  • Use After Free following d2i_ECPrivatekey error (CVE-2015-0209) – Severity: Low – A malformed EC private key file consumed via the d2i_ECPrivateKey function could cause a use after free condition. This, in turn, could cause a double free in several private key parsing functions (such as d2i_PrivateKey or EVP_PKCS82PKEY) and could lead to a DoS attack or memory corruption for applications that receive EC private keys from untrusted sources. This scenario is considered rare.
  • X509_to_X509_REQ NULL pointer deref (CVE-2015-0288) – Severity: Low – The function X509_to_X509_REQ will crash with a NULL pointer dereference if the certificate key is invalid. This function is rarely used in practice.

New versions of OpenSSL are available as listed below:

  • OpenSSL 1.0.2a is now available, including bug and security fixes.
  • OpenSSL 1.0.1m is now available, including bug and security fixes.
  • OpenSSL 1.0.0r is now available, including bug and security fixes.
  • OpenSSL 0.9.8zf is now available, including bug and security fixes.

FREAK vulnerability weakens secure Web sites

padlock-icon-on-computer-monitor-showing-safety-security-and-protected_300x225(LiveHacking.Com) – FREAK (or ‘Factoring attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys’) is a newly disclosed vulnerability that can force browsers into using weaker encryption keys. Once the connection is using weaker keys then the traffic can be cracked relatively quickly. This then exposes all the information that was being sent over the secure connection.

The vulnerability stems directly from an old U.S. government policy that made it illegal to export strong encryption and required that weaker “export-grade” products be shipped to customers in other countries. These export restrictions were lifted in the late 1990s, but the weaker encryption got built-in into widely used software, some of which made its way back into USA.

In the 1990s the USA only allowed companies to create technology with 512-bit encryption for use overseas. The law was designed to limit the trade in military technology. But 512-bit encryption has long been seen as “unacceptably weak” and most security experts thought that its use had ceased completely.

According to the Washington Post, it is possible to crack the export-grade encryption key in about seven hours, using computers on Amazon Web services. The site has a list of sites that are vulnerable to FREAK. The list “includes news organizations, retailers and financial services sites such as” According to Nadia Heninger, a University of Pennsylvania cryptographer, over 5 million sites are vulnerable to this attack vector.

FREAK has been assigned the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures identifier CVE-2015-0204. According to the description, “The ssl3_get_key_exchange function in s3_clnt.c in OpenSSL before 0.9.8zd, 1.0.0 before 1.0.0p, and 1.0.1 before 1.0.1k allows remote SSL servers to conduct RSA-to-EXPORT_RSA downgrade attacks and facilitate brute-force decryption by offering a weak ephemeral RSA key in a noncompliant role.”

According to a security advisory from OpenSSL, “an OpenSSL client will accept the use of an RSA temporary key in a non-export RSA key exchange ciphersuite. A server could present a weak temporary key and downgrade the security of the session.”

This issue affects all current OpenSSL versions: 1.0.1, 1.0.0 and 0.9.8. OpenSSL 1.0.1 users should upgrade to 1.0.1k, OpenSSL 1.0.0 users should upgrade to 1.0.0p, and OpenSSL 0.9.8 users should upgrade to 0.9.8zd.

This issue was reported to OpenSSL on 22nd October 2014 by Karthikeyan Bhargavan of the PROSECCO team at INRIA. The fix was developed by Stephen Henson of the OpenSSL core team the following day.

It also looks like Android’s web browser and Apple’s Safari browser are vulnerable. According to Matt Green, “A group of cryptographers at INRIA, Microsoft Research and IMDEA have discovered some serious vulnerabilities in OpenSSL clients (e.g., Android) and Apple TLS/SSL clients (e.g., Safari) that allow a ‘man in the middle attacker’ to downgrade connections from ‘strong’ RSA to ‘export-grade’ RSA.”