Researchers have uncovered a vulnerability in OpenSSL, a software that provides secure (encrypted) communications for electronic commerce, banking, and secure remote access (SSL VPN). This vulnerability has been termed the Heartbleed Bug. An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability can read data from the memory of an attacked server. If the attacker is able to obtain the server’s private encryption keys from server memory, the vulnerability would allow attackers to decrypt and eavesdrop secure transactions or communications.
OpenSSL is extremely popular and used by an estimated 1/2 million web sites to encrypt their data.
ICANN is aware of the Heartbleed Bug. While the vulnerability does not affect the DNS, ICANN’s Security Team is urging top level domain registries, registrars (and their resellers) who provide e-merchant services for domain registration and other online services who use OpenSSL to upgrade to OpenSSL 1.0.1g, a version of OpenSSL that mitigates the threat from the Heartbleed Bug.
Organizations that use SSL-based Virtual Private Networks for secure application access should also take measures to mitigate this threat.
If you are looking for additional information on the Heartbleed Bug I would recommend the following three pieces: