More on the hype behind OpenSSH flaw that could leak crypto keys

Richard Adhikari wrote a good overview about the “OpenSSH Flaw Could Leak Crypto Keys” in the website.

I got quoted :

The flaws are not dangerous, security consultant Sorin Mustaca said.

“In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker must convince its target OpenSSH client to connect to a malicious server — an unlikely scenario — or compromise a trusted server and install a special build of the OpenSSH server having roaming activated,” he told LinuxInsider. The second option “is possible but also unlikely to happen.”

If hackers compromise a server to the degree that they can replace OpenSSH, for which they need root access, “it would be better for them to insert their own private keys and have access to the server directly rather than stealing someone else’s private key,” Mustaca remarked. Even if a private key is stolen, the thief has to figure out where else it’s being used.

“OpenSSH did very well by fixing these issues,” Mustaca observed.


This news is an example of how to create FUD – Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.

The marketing department of Qualys, which is a very respected company, exaggerated the effects of the vulnerability they found.

I am pretty sure that the goal was to bring the company in the news a bit.

Unfortunately for them, the effect was exactly the opposite: their technical guys, who clearly stated that the vulnerabilities can be exploited only in certain circumstances, got somehow overruled by the Marketing and they did from a mosquito a stallion.

Final result, in my opinion:

Marketing : 1

Technical guys:

—> Qualys: -1


© Copyright 2016 Sorin Mustaca, All rights Reserved. Written For: Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity

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About the Author

Sorin Mustaca
Sorin Mustaca, (ISC)2 CSSLP, CompTIA Security+ and Project+, is working since over 20 years in the IT Security industry and worked between 2003-2014 for Avira as Product Manager for the known products used by over 100 million users world-wide. Today he is CEO and owner of Endpoint Cybersecurity GmbH focusing on Cybersecurity, secure software development and security for IoT and Automotive. He is also running his personal blog Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity and is the author of the free eBook Improve your security .
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