InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) and the New Zealand Internet Task Force (NZITF) are today warning website owners that their site’s security may have been breached and private information, including logons and passwords, may have been stolen after the HeartBleed vulnerability was identified in the last 24 hours.
InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter said website owners are advised to check their sites and patch them where required. Individual users should change their passwords as a matter of course.
“Website owners shouldn’t panic, but quick action is required by those using vulnerable versions of OpenSSL,” said Mr Carter.
The vulnerability in OpenSSL software, commonly used to secure web sites, is easy to exploit and virtually impossible to detect when it has been exploited. Any web site using a vulnerable version of OpenSSL may have been attacked by criminals stealing data or eavesdropping on communications to and from the site. Now that this vulnerability is widely known the likelihood of criminals using this exploit are significantly higher.
To fix the vulnerability, website hosts are advised to follow the below list in the order provided:
1. Establish if your site’s servers are vulnerable. This can be done by visiting https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest
2. Patch the vulnerable servers.
3. Revoke/reissue certificates. This is an extremely important step as the servers may have been compromised for some time, without detection.
Patching alone will reduce the risk of future data compromises, however it cannot protect data that has already been captured. As usual, individuals should have separate passwords for different log-ins, and InternetNZ and the NZITF recommend changing those passwords regularly.