Heartbleed bug is irritating McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab

The flawed OpenSSL Heartbleed problem is putting many security firms in the hot seat

The Heartbleed Bug disclosed by the OpenSSL group on April 7 has sent many vendors scurrying to patch their products and that includes security firms Symantec, Intel Security's McAfee division, and Kaspersky Lab.

Heartbleed is basically a buffer-overflow vulnerability in the flawed versions of OpenSSL that would allow savvy attackers to steal data such as passwords or digital certificates. A German software engineer has admitted to unwittingly inserting the Heartbleed Bug vulnerability two years ago in OpenSSL, and it now has a significant portion of the high-tech industry patching servers, client software, network gear and security products. In investigating their own product lines in recent days, Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab, among others, have been busy de-bugging the Heartbleed Bug out of their products.

The process of  investigating the impact of Heartbleed is still ongoing and in some cases, patches for products seen as vulnerable are still to be released.

Symantec’s long Heartbleed list of products considered vulnerable is being updated on a rolling basis. NetBackup Appliance, are impacted by Heartbleed and require a patch, but Backup Exec, is not impacted. Vulnerable products have gotten or will get patches.

+More on Network World: Heartbleed Bug hits at heart of many Cisco, Juniper products | McAfee tool for gauging site vulnerability to the Heartbleed Bug | Symantec advisory on Heartbleed | Symantec list of impacted products | McAfee list of products impacted by Heartbleed +

Agent software for EPM and Symantec Risk Automation Suite is impacted. So are some versions of Norton Security and Norton Identity Safe. But many Symantec products are not, including Symantec Web Gateway, Symantec Endpoint Encryption, the PGP products line, and Symantec Endpoint Encryption Manager. Symantec digital certificates are not vulnerable to Heartbleed but since swapping out certificates on servers patched for the Heartbleed Bug is recommended, Symantec is issuing new certificates at no cost for replacement.

But Symantec’s list also indicates it hasn’t yet determined for certain the status of Norton Mobile Security and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition 2013, Symantec Security Information Manager, and Application High Availability, saying this is still “under investigation” in terms of Heartbleed vulnerability. Symantec was not immediately available to comment further on this.

According to its advisory, Symantec maintains that while the Heartbleed Bug does pose a serious threat to unpatched servers especially, it does not see evidence of widespread attacks based on the Heartbleed Bug flaw.

At rival security vendor McAfee, there was also considerable effort underway in the past few days to sort out what products and services were vulnerable to Heartbleed or not.

As of today, McAfee’s list of products vulnerable to Heartbleed include ePolicy Orchestrator, Next Generation Firewall (Stonesoft), McAfee Firewall Enterprise, McAfee Security Information and Event Management (Nitro), McAfee email Gateway, McAfee Web Gateway, McAfee Security for Microsoft Exchange, McAfee Security for Microsoft Sharepoint, McAfee Security for Lotus Domino on Windows. McAfee is providing updates for these products.

McAfee also notes it may have more announcements to make about vulnerable products in the future. But for now, it’s not naming them because of concerns about possible attacks.

“The safety of our customers is always our first priority,” McAfee said in a prepared statement. “McAfee is following a set methodology that evaluates vulnerabilities and potential vulnerabilities, and then helps impacted customers fix those vulnerabilities before making the details public. Going public with details without protecting our customers would make them vulnerable to attacks.”

Kaspersky Lab is is also coping with Heartbleed. Kaspersky says the fixed web services it was using were vulnerable to Heartbleed, and Kaspersky also says it has already developed a “special fix which is already being delivered for technical support” for its enterprise products Kaspersky Security Center and Kaspersky Security Center MR1.

Consumer versions of the company’s anti-malware software also use OpenSSL but a Kaspersky spokesman says it did determine these “can’t be affected due to the Heartbleed vulnerability.” However, Kaspersky says it does intend to issue Heartbleed-related patches for Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, Kaspersky Internet Security 2013, Kaspersky Pure 3.0 and Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac as a precaution in the coming weeks.

Kaspersky downplayed the threat posed by the Heartbleed Bug, saying its specialists conducted tests to see whether exploitation of the Heartbleed vulnerability could lead to data being compromised and “no such scenarios were detected. The security firm is “also not aware of any in-the-wild malware samples exploiting this vulnerability that could be used to target the company’s products or web services.”

Kaspersky offered assurances to its customers that it believes “no data has been compromised as a result of Heartbleed OpenSSL library vulnerability used by Kaspersky Lab products and services.”

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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