The NSA has an entire budget devoted to doing just this: “$1.6 billion a year on data processing and exploitation, more than a thousand times the annual budget of the OpenSSL project” reports The Verge. Their prime directive is to find bugs, keep them quiet, and exploit them for their own gain (sorry, “national security”). OpenSSL’s volunteers, on the other hand, need jobs to feed their families. As much as they might want to, they don’t have the time to devote the effort needed to make sure their code is rock-solid. And apparently, neither do its users. It took a Google employee two years to discover Heartbleed, despite the fact that they’re a multi-billion dollar corporation that depends on the integrity of things like OpenSSL. Evidently, though, it’s still not cost-effective to have dedicated teams keeping an eye on the code.
Update:Below is what we thought as of 12:27pm UTC. To verify our belief we crowd sourced the investigation. It turns out we were wrong. While it takes effort, it is possible to extract private SSL keys. The challenge was solved by Software Engineer Fedor Indutny and Ilkka Mattila at NCSC-FI roughly 9 hours after the challenge was first published. Fedor sent 2.5 million requests over the course of the day and Ilkka sent around 100K requests. Our recommendation based on this finding is that everyone reissue and revoke their private keys. CloudFlare has accelerated this effort on behalf of the customers whose SSL keys we manage. You can read more here.
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