Heartbleed bug: What you need to know


What is Heartbleed bug?

Heartbleed is a security bug in the open-source OpenSSL cryptography library, widely used to implement the Internet’s Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. A fixed version of OpenSSL was released on April 7, 2014, at the same time as Heartbleed was publicly disclosed. At that time, some 17 percent (around half a million) of the Internet’s secure web servers certified by trusted authorities were believed to be vulnerable to the attack, allowing theft of the servers’ private keys and users’ session cookies and passwords.

heartbleed

The issue is registered in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures system as CVE-2014-0160.

The damage caused by the “Heartbleed” bug is currently unknown. The security hole exists on a vast number of the internet’s web servers and went undetected for more than two years. While it’s conceivable that the flaw was never discovered by hackers, it’s nearly impossible to tell.

There isn’t much that people can do to protect themselves until the affected websites implement a fix.

Why is it a big deal?

Heartbleed affects the encryption technology designed to protect online accounts for email, instant messaging and e-commerce. It was discovered by a team of researchers from the Finnish security firm Codenomicon, along with a Google researcher who was working separately.

It’s unclear whether any information has been stolen as a result of Heartbleed, but security experts are particularly worried about the bug because it went undetected for more than two years.

How does it work?

Heartbleed creates an opening in SSL/TLS, an encryption technology marked by the small, closed padlock and “https:” on Web browsers to show that traffic is secure. The flaw makes it possible to snoop on Internet traffic even if the padlock is closed. Interlopers can also grab the keys for deciphering encrypted data without the website owners knowing the theft occurred.

The problem affects only the variant of SSL/TLS known as OpenSSL, but that happens to be one of the most common on the Internet.

Which sites are affected?

There are half a million believed to be vulnerable so too many to list but there is a glut of new sites offering users the chance to check whether the online haunts they use regularly are affected.

The LastPass website  has compiled a list as has new websiteMashable . Meanwhile security firm Kaspersky directs people to theHeartbleed test.

While Facebook and Google say that they have patched their services, according to the Kaspersky blog,  there is a long list of sites that are still vulnerable, including Flickr, OkCupid and Github.

One of the biggest tech firms remaining on the vulnerable list was Yahoo but, as of last night, it too seemed to have remedied the problem saying it “had made the appropriate corrections across our entire platform”.

Many more sites will spend the coming days scrambling to do the same.

Bruce Schneier called on internet companies to issue new certificates and keys for encrypting internet traffic. Doing so would render stolen keys useless, he said.

Worst case scenario

The bad news, according to a blog from security firm Kaspersky  is that “exploiting Heartbleed leaves no traces so there is no definitive way to tell if the server was hacked and what kind of data was stolen”.

Security experts say that they are starting to see evidence that hacker groups are conducting automated scans of the internet in search of web servers using OpenSSL.

And Kaspersky said that it had uncovered evidence that groups believed to be involved in state-sponsored cyber-espionage were running such scans shortly after news of the bug broke.

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Social Engineering


Social Engineering is the art of Hacking In Real Life. Social engineering is the art of getting people to tell you stuff that they usually wouldn’t disclose, through the use of words and your appearance.

A good Social engineerer (or as I love to call these types of people, “Bullshit artists”), can make people believe nearly anything.

I will use the example of someone trying to get someone’s password:

Now the most important thing is having a believable story. If you go to someone and say “hotmail have requested i get your password for account checking”, then they will most likely tell you to piss off.

One of the most common ways that i use, is “I’m doing a survey”. Make a fake survey, attach it to a clip board, and just walk up to the person and start asking him questions.

For example:
Hi, my name is Alexander, and I am doing a survey on how strong peoples passwords are. You will be surprised at how insecure most people’s passwords are, and you may find it extremely worrying about how insecure your password may be. If you don’t mind, would you allow me to ask you a few questions?

The person will think “insecure personal information” and 9 times out of 10 will agree to talk to you.

Ask them questions like “does your password contain letters numbers and symbols”, “how long is your password” (when they are counting, watch their lips to see if they spell the words/numbers out), etc.

You may also be able to give them the “i also have a good way of calculating how strong your password is. This isn’t necessary but you can give me a password you use most frequently and i can calculate how strong it is”, but that sometimes pushes the bar a little too much.

Prevention of Social Engineering

As you can probably see above, the power of SE can EASILY be used against people. It is always a good idea to be aware of people who you don’t know, but it is also good practice to watch people you DO know. Don’t be getting paranoid about things, because that isn’t what i mean, but SE is the EASIEST way to hack anything.

Here are some tips of keeping safe:

I cant have a complete list, because Social Engineers are constantly changing the ways in which they gain trust.
A few things to look out for:

Something that is too good to be true

If its too good to be true, then it probably is. Always make sure that the person is trusted, or is well known. Hey, don’t just go on that, the person may have fooled everyone, but it is always good to ask yourself “If this is such a good offer, how can he/she be offering it.”

Someone who you never usually talk to has started being really interested in you

They might just have become really interested in you, but what for? If they start asking really strange/personal questions, I would recommend you play the “Playing it hard” game. Ask them the same question as your answer, and refuse to tell them until they tell you. Then just be like “I don’t believe you”. Doesn’t matter if its true or not, but what you have just done is proven to them they aren’t as trusted as they believed they were, even if its only psychological. Then just make up an excuse so you need to go. There are plenty of ways to just get out of something, but i prefer the method where you beat them at their own game. Make it SO much more entertaining =)

Someone you don’t know asks you for your details

Obviously you don’t give them out, you would have to be stupid to do that.

As a rule of thumb, just make sure that the person isn’t trying anything. You will find it hard to pick a real good Social engineerer, but just remember that there are always people out there who aren’t that good, trying it.

Remember: Never give out details, or secure information such as your passwords. Use passwords that aren’t anything to do with your age/DOB/FirstName/Surname etc. All of that can be found too easily.

This Post was written with the beginner in mind, and just defines the basics of the Social Engineering techniques.

Source : Hack PC Online