OpenSSL Heartbleed Bug and What You Need to Know

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Over the past few days, we have received an overwhelming number of questions about the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug and how cPanel system administrators should be handling this.

First of all, if you haven’t read Codenomicon’s write-up on the bug, which thoroughly explains what it is, you should look visit heartbleed.com. Because their website already covers just about everything you need to know, I don’t feel the need to rehash all the nitty-gritty details here.  I’m only going to address how you, a cPanel administrator, should address this on your server.

Only CentOS 6.5 is vulnerable to this bug.  Obviously this affects other OS’s as well, but as a cPanel administrator you’re only dealing with CentOS (and perhaps FreeBSD).  If you use a version of CentOS older than 6.5, read no further – you’re not affected and can rest easy.

You can test whether you’re vulnerable by using this tool against a website on your server that has an SSL certificate installed.

To clear this up real quick: OpenSSL is a vendor-supplied package that, in your case, is provided by CentOS.  It is not supplied by cPanel, so there’s no point in asking them to “fix” this.  There is nothing for them to fix.  However, if you have system package upgrades enabled for cpupdate, and cPanel updates run automatically on your server, chances are the OpenSSL updates have already been installed.  To configure your cPanel update settings, check out this link, or go to WHM -> Update Preferences.

Check to see if you’re running the latest version as so:

root@server [~]# rpm -qa |grep -i openssl
openssl-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64
openssl-devel-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64

At this point you’re looking for version 1.0.1e or newer (at the time of this writing, 1.0.1e is the latest).  This update does not necessarily fix the bug in question, but rather disables the TLS heartbeat extensions that are vulnerable.  A later version will likely fix the problem altogether, but such is not available yet because RHEL has not released a fix.

After OpenSSL is updated, you need to restart services.  This is necessary whether you updated OpenSSL yourself, or let cPanel do it during its update process.  The following services should be restarted:

  • cPanel
  • Apach*
  • Exim
  • Dovecot/Courier
  • Pure-ftpd/Proftp
  • MySQL
  • any other services that use SSL (Tip: you can use the following command to find a list of services to restart)

lsof -n | grep ssl | grep DEL | awk ‘{print $1}’ | sort | uniq

(Suggestion provided by Lucas Rolff)

* For Apache, you should either restart via WHM, or from command line do a full stop/start or run /scripts/restartsrv_httpd.  Doing a “service httpd restart” will not kill the parent process that loads the openssl libraries.

Once this is done, you should be good to go.  It is recommended, however, that you re-key your SSL certificates and have then re-issued and re-installed to prevent security problems resulting from a compromised private key.

You may also wish to follow this conversation from the cPanel forums.

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