Heartbleed Bug Shows Industry is Under-investing in Software Integrity

Paula Musich
Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • The disclosure of the devastating Heartbleed bug – two years in the wild – illustrates how much the technology industry under-invests in software integrity.
  • Bug bounty programs spur greater participation in vulnerability research, and those who benefit most directly from open source software should contribute to an open source bug bounty program.

Unless you’ve taken a holiday from the connected world, you probably know by now about the Heartbleed bug. And if you’re a CSO or CISO, you’ve most likely seen plenty of suggestions on how to respond to the threat posed by this extremely risky and widespread vulnerability. Although the effort to address the problem is not quite as Herculean, it struck me that the response to the Heartbleed bug needs to be nearly as widespread as the effort to fix the date problem at the turn of the 21st century. Estimates that I saw about how widespread OpenSSL use is suggest that as much as 66% of all the websites across the globe use OpenSSL, and some reports suggested that the technology is embedded in a wide variety of network infrastructure devices, including routers, WLAN controllers, firewalls and more. But while enterprises had plenty of advance notice to address the date problem leading up to the year 2000, web site operators and technology vendors need to move with the utmost urgency to patch this flaw and clean up the mess created by this “catastrophic” vulnerability. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the coding error happened, and I don’t think that its existence is necessarily a condemnation of the way that open source vetting works. Continue reading “Heartbleed Bug Shows Industry is Under-investing in Software Integrity”