A New SSL Exploit – POODLE

poodle exploit ssl

Yesterday, Google published a post that exposes a flaw in Web encryption standards. It’s similar to the Heartbleed bug exploited earlier this year but not nearly as serious.

It’s called POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption), which exploits yet another vulnerability in one of the Internet’s basic security protocols (SSL more commonly known as https in your browser) that could potentially give an attacker access to your sensitive online account information.

Who it affects

Any secure connection (https) you make via your web browser is at risk. That means visiting banks, PayPal, online shopping sites, etc are all vulnerable.

What’s at risk

The attacker could potentially decrypt and read any of your sensitive data (passwords, etc) for any secure website you’re connected to via https.

Are servers and clients both affected?

Yes, however the vulnerability exists only if both the server and client accept SSL v3.0 (which is the default fallback cipher suite for all web browsers and servers after TLSv1/TLSv1.1/TLS1.2).

How the exploit can happen

The attacker must be on the same wireless network (man-in-the-middle) and your computer must be running Javascript (a web browser). You’re safest at home but not public WiFis like Starbucks.

Can I test to see if I’m vulnerable?

Yes. Visit this website: https://www.poodletest.com/.

Can I test websites to see if they’re vulnerable?

Yes. Visit this website: http://www.poodlescan.com/

What’s the downside to disabling SSL v3.0?

If you still use IE 6 on Windows XP you will no longer be able to connect via https. Honestly, if you’re still using this setup, you’ve got many other security risks besides this. Upgrade ASAP.

How to fix this

The only correct way to fix POODLE is to disable SSL v3.0 in all your browsers. The problem is, there isn’t an easy way to do this right now. Each browser will be rolling out fixes soon so make sure to upgrade asap. Admins should also disable SSL v3.0 on their servers.

If you use Chrome on a Mac, you can disable SSL v3.0 by launching Chrome via the command line with a special parameter.

Follow these steps:

  1. Close out all your Chrome browsers
  2. Launch “Applications” => “Utilities” => Terminal
  3. Copy and paste the following and hit “return”. It will launch Chrome with SSL v3.0 disabled.

/Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome --args --ssl-version-min=tls1

To fix it in all other browsers, check out this page for great tutorials.

The good news

We’ve already disabled SSL v3.0 on our servers so your customer data is safe. We also re-keyed our SSL certificates earlier this year to be extra safe against the Heartbleed exploit.

Recommendations

Until web browsers release a fix, I’d steer clear of any public WiFi network and limit (if not completely stop) any https website visits. If you really must, check the website first and make sure SSL v3.0 has been disabled. Most everyone uses a computer on their home network which is pretty secure (assuming you’ve got a complex WiFi password and WPA2 encryption) so in this case, I wouldn’t worry too much.

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 Comments (5)

  • pagematic

    Thanks for the heads-up. This is the first I heard about this!

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    2 people like this.
  • Stephen

    You’ve got a broken link on the hyperlink to Googles published post

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    Anonymous likes this.
  • davao

    Thanks to sharing article and nice services in your website…….

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    2 people like this.
  • memoona

    Wow, your site looks great! Thank you for sharing this useful Poodle information.

    Memoona

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    You like this.

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