12 December 2014

Alert Priority Moderate

Organisations are advised that the POODLE vulnerability, originally thought to only affect older Secure Sockets Layer 3 (SSL3) encryption, has now been discovered in newer Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption protocols. POODLE is short for Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption, named after the technical aspects of this vulnerability.

Encryption protocols up to TLS 1.2 with Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data (AEAD) are affected.

TLS and its predecessor, SSL, are cryptographic encryption protocols used to secure data sent over the internet − typically between a user’s internet browser and an organisation’s website. They are commonly used to provide security for sensitive activities such as online banking and shopping. You will often see their use signified by your internet browser with the inclusion of ‘s’ in ‘https://’ addresses, or by the padlock icon.

Previously, experts have recommended organisations simply disable support for SSL3 encryption to protect themselves against POODLE based attacks. This approach is not practical with current versions of TLS.

Organisations should consult with their network device vendors for updates. Most have begun to release fixes to address this issue (F5, A10). (Please note that if your browser warns you about opening the A10 pdf file, this is a standard warning and not a virus alert. Stay Smart Online is a trustworthy source and has included this link intentionally.)

A likely attack scenario using this vulnerability would involve a criminal intercepting and reading encrypted information sent between a browser and website.

More information

You can check to see if your website domain is vulnerable here.

For more information about what POODLE is, please see our previous Alert.

The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) has revised its advice about POODLE to reflect these developments.

The blog post by Google researcher Adam Langley, discussing the issue.

Stay Smart Online has further information automating updates to your computer.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.

Feedback

Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.

Disclaimer

This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.

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