More than 300,000 servers still unpatched for Heartbleed

A quick scan shows that the patch rates have dropped off and a lot of servers remain unsecured.


Two months ago the tech world was hit with a tsunami that hundreds of thousands of websites were vulnerable to a critical bug, forcing us to change our passwords on all our favorite sites immediately.

After incredible amounts of coverage, you'd think servers would be up-to-date and patched. And you'd be wrong. A new report on the Errata Security blog shows that more than 300,000 servers are running out-of-date, unpatched versions of OpenSSL with the Heartbleed vulnerability.

Errata did a simple test. It scanned port 443, one of the most commonly used server ports, to determine which version of OpenSSL it was running based on the server's response and thereby determine if the server was at risk of attack.

When the vulnerability was first made public, they scanned the port and found over 650,000 vulnerable systems. Errata found the number dropped rapidly in the first month to 330,000. After that, the upgrade rate fell off a cliff. A port scan one month later found the number of vulnerable systems down by just 18,000.

The report’s author, Errata CEO Robert Graham, noted some big changes in his May update. In April, he found 28 million systems supporting SSL, but in May he found only 22 million. "I suspect the reason is that this time, people detected my Heartbleed 'attacks' and automatically firewalled me before the scan completed. Or, another problem is that I may have more traffic congestion at my ISP, which would reduce numbers," he noted.

In April, he found one million systems with the "heartbeat" feature, with one-third patched. In May, he found 1.5 million systems supporting the "heartbeat" feature, with all but the 300,000 patched.

"This implies to me that the first response to the bug was to disable heartbeats, then later when people correctly patched the software, heartbeats were re-enabled," he wrote.

He also said he's doing scans of IPv4 addresses, and there are a lot of IPv6 addresses out there.

Errata promises to scan again for vulnerable servers next month, then in six months, and then yearly onwards. Graham said he expects numbers to slowly fall off as servers are replaced, but really, there's no excuse for being lackadaisical about updating OpenSSL to fix this bug, because it is truly a monster.


Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022