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OpenSSL has fixed a high-severity vulnerability that made it possible for attackers to obtain the key that decrypts communications secured in HTTPS based on the ephemeral keys, DSA based Diffie Hellman (DH) key exchange.

HackingThe OpenSSL Diffie Hellman issue got assigned CVE-2016-0701 with a severity of High. This vulnerability could allow an attacker to force the peer to perform multiple handshakes using the same private Diffie Hellman key component. Meaning they could use this flaw to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks on the SSL/TLS connection.

OpenSSL released on 28-Jan-2016 their Security Advisory regarding the fixes on their website OpenSSL.org.

OpenSSL provides the option SSL_OP_SINGLE_DH_USE for ephemeral DH (DHE) in TLS. It is not on by default. If the option is not set then the server reuses the same private DH exponent for the life of the server process and would be vulnerable to this attack. It is believed that many popular applications do set this option and would therefore not be at risk.

OpenSSL 1.0.2 users should upgrade to 1.0.2f as stated in the security advisory. That download patch fix can be found here.

Fortunately Diffie Hellman key exchange is not met by the mainstream industry, and more than likely users are not using DSA Diffie Hellman ephemeral keys in order to perform their encryption. But the first line of defense to keep hackers at bay is to update their systems and not become stagnant in security.

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