Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: JP Morgenthal, AppDynamics Blog, John Wetherill, Harry Trott, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Cloud Security, JAVA IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

Cloud Security: Blog Post

Layered Security Is Key to Avoiding Heartbleed

Why Gazzang services were not impacted by the nasty OpenSSL bug

While organizations spend the next few days and weeks patching OpenSSL vulnerabilities, the realization is setting in that we may never know the full extent of the damage caused by Heartbleed.

Although Heartbleed was only announced in early April, it has actually been present in OpenSSL versions dating back to March 2012. This means hackers have had ample time to steal certificates and other sensitive information. Making matters worse, it's nearly impossible for companies to know whether their web communications have indeed been compromised.

What exactly is being exposed?

When exploited by a hack, Heartbeat (the name of the transport layer security extension where the bug was found) dumps whatever data might reside in the memory of client/server communications in small 64k chunks. Normally this traffic is encrypted, but the bug actually compromises the secret keys, usernames and passwords that protect this data. Leaked keys can lead to insecure web certificates, which could indirectly lead an attacker to usernames and passwords, payment card details, cookies -- essentially any information submitted by other users of the service.

Should I worry about my Gazzang zNcrypt keys being exposed?

No. Gazzang zNcrypt keys are encrypted client-side, so a compromise of the zTrustee server using Heartbleed would never expose any zNcrypt keys. Furthermore, while we use SSL for data-in-transit encryption, the payload of data between client nodes and zTrustee is encrypted with strong crypto libraries like GPG underneath OpenSSL. So we're doubling up the encryption, just for instances like this.

Like many other websites, we have already patched our zTrustee SaaS servers for the Heartbleed vulnerability. We also encourage customers who haven't already done so to upgrade to the latest operating system version and deploy those OS patches as well.

How can I protect my organization against future threats like Heartbleed?

One of the reasons this bug is so widespread is because it exploited a vulnerability in the popular and highly regarded OpenSSL crypto library. In other words, it went after the very service layer that untold numbers of companies use to protect against hackers. Where many of these companies went wrong is they relied on that single layer of security to protect against a network attack.

Multi-factor authentication, which requires a second piece of information to allow access to an account, is one way users can protect email access and other sensitive account information. So in addition to upgrading, patching and maintaining the latest versions of your OS and software, another way to protect your company's data is to deploy multiple layers of cryptography.

I mentioned earlier that we use GPG in addition to SSL for data-in-transit encryption. As another example, our customers use Gazzang zNcrypt to encrypt their data and protect that data by disallowing unauthorized people and processes to access it. The encryption key is then encrypted itself and stored in the zTrustee key manager (along with the master). The data owner can then set a broad range of configurable policies governing who or what can access those keys.

The important thing to remember is that security needs to be applied in layers, and a single layer is never enough. A useful tool to check your SaaS vendors' security is Qualsys SSL Labs test.

What can I do as a consumer?

To start, here are a couple of lists spotlighting companies that use the TLS Heartbeat extension. The best advice is to change your password if a service you use is listed as vulnerable.

More Stories By David Tishgart

After spending years at large corporations including Dell, AMD and BMC, David Tishgart joined the startup ranks leading product marketing for Gazzang. Focused on security for big data, he helps communicate the benefits and challenges that big data can present, offering practical solutions. When not ranting about encryption and key management, you can find David clamoring for a big data application that can fine tune his fantasy football team.

Latest Stories
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
DevOps is the hottest moving target when it comes to software development methodologies. Many people fear that this fast-paced, barrier-breaking movement will leave information security best practices in the dust. Analysts provide recommendations to security professionals using bingo-laden terms like "moving security to the left" or "get a seat at the table." What we need are real-world examples and tactics for security practitioners to be part of DevOps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Andrew...
Containers Expo Blog covers the world of containers, as this lightweight alternative to virtual machines enables developers to work with identical dev environments and stacks. Containers Expo Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Bookmark Containers Expo Blog ▸ Here Follow new article posts on Twitter at @ContainersExpo
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will addresses this very serious issue o...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BMC delivers software solutions that help IT transform digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive business advantage. BMC has worked with thousands of leading companies to create and deliver powerful IT management services. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC pairs high-speed digital innovation with robust...
As cloud gives an opportunity to businesses to buy services externally – how is cloud impacting your customers? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Fabio Gori, Director of Worldwide Cloud Marketing at Cisco, provided answers to big questions: Do you see hybrid cloud as where the world is going? What benefits does it bring? And how does Cisco connect all of these clouds? He also discussed Intercloud and Cisco’s investment on it.
Over the years, a variety of methodologies have emerged in order to overcome the challenges related to project constraints. The successful use of each methodology seems highly context-dependent. However, communication seems to be the common denominator of the many challenges that project management methodologies intend to resolve. In this respect, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be viewed as powerful tools for managing projects. Few research papers have focused on the way...
As the world moves from DevOps to NoOps, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. However, applications have been architected with a much tighter coupling than it needs to be which makes deployment in different environments and migration between them harder. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, Netflix and so on is at the heart of CloudFoundry – a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, will review next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discuss how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Speaker Bios Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption...