Security Experts:

OpenSSL to Patch Several Vulnerabilities

OpenSSL updates scheduled for release on December 3 will address several vulnerabilities, the OpenSSL Project announced on Monday.

OpenSSL versions 1.0.2e, 1.0.1q, 1.0.0t and 0.9.8zh will be released on Thursday between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. UTC. No details have been provided regarding the security holes that will be resolved, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see the next Heartbleed considering that the most serious of them have been classified as having moderate severity.

The OpenSSL Project’s security policy describes moderate severity vulnerabilities as issues affecting less commonly used protocols (e.g. DTLS), local flaws, and client application crashes. They are generally kept private until the next release when several such issues are patched at once.

OpenSSL vulnerabilities were until recently classified using three security levels: high, moderate and low. The “critical” level has been added to describe serious issues that affect common configurations and are likely to be exploited. Critical flaws are patched as soon as possible.

“Examples include significant disclosure of the contents of server memory (potentially revealing user details), vulnerabilities which can be easily exploited remotely to compromise server private keys (excluding local, theoretical or difficult to exploit side channel attacks) or where remote code execution is considered likely in common situations,” the OpenSSL Project noted in its security policy.

OpenSSL users have also been reminded that the 0.9.8 and 1.0.0 releases will no longer receive security updates starting with January 1, 2016. Unless serious issues that need to be quickly fixed are discovered until December 31, 1.0.0t and 0.9.8zh will likely be the last releases for these versions.

A total of four OpenSSL security updates have been released until now in 2015. The updates were issued in January, March, June and July.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.