Serious Bug in OpenSSL HeartBleed and Implications

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Serious Bug in OpenSSL HeartBleed and Implications

heartbleedA serious bug called “HeartBleed” has been discovered in OpenSSL on the 7th April 2014. As OpenSSL is used in both our Customer portal and OpenVPN we would like to shed some light on this bug and how it affects you (though in short, if you’re with BolehVPN, it doesn’t :))

What is the HeartBleed Bug?

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

In short here is a snippet from the information site HeartBleed

Am I affected by the bug?

You are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly. OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. Your popular social site, your company’s site, commerce site, hobby site, site you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL. Many of online services use TLS to both to identify themselves to you and to protect your privacy and transactions. You might have networked appliances with logins secured by this buggy implementation of the TLS. Furthermore you might have client side software on your computer that could expose the data from your computer if you connect to compromised services.

How widespread is this?

Most notable software using OpenSSL are the open source web servers like Apache and nginx. The combined market share of just those two out of the active sites on the Internet was over 66% according to Netcraft’s April 2014 Web Server Survey. Furthermore OpenSSL is used to protect for example email servers (SMTP, POP and IMAP protocols), chat servers (XMPP protocol), virtual private networks (SSL VPNs), network appliances and wide variety of client side software. Fortunately many large consumer sites are saved by their conservative choice of SSL/TLS termination equipment and software. Ironically smaller and more progressive services or those who have upgraded to latest and best encryption will be affected most. Furthermore OpenSSL is very popular in client software and somewhat popular in networked appliances which have most inertia in getting updates.

How does it affect you as a BolehVPN customer?

In short, it most likely doesn’t. We have reviewed our servers and implementation and our customer portal implementation does not use the affected OpenSSL versions.

Our OpenVPN implementation implements tls-auth with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) would protect past communications from retrospective decryption so the risk is mitigated.  In this scenario an attacker can not attack openvpn instances without the TLS-auth key.

We are however monitoring developments closely and will implement patches as they become available.


We have now fully patched our GUI versions and updated our BolehVPN-GUI to remove the threat. We are still on OpenVPN version 2.3.2 to maintain compatibility with our xCloak functions.

Further Reading




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