Obviously, we do not mean an actual canine because that would be too far-fetched, but there is something related to cyber security that is called POODLE. We think that you should pay attention to it because even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security pointed out how important it is to take care of this issue immediately. While dealing with POODLE does not depend on users themselves, we would like to address this matter in this article, letting you know more about this disturbing vulnerability. Read on to find out more about this vulnerability and potential security threat.
What does POODLE do?
Before you start thinking that POODLE is a miniature cyber dog waiting to snatch some important data, we have to make it clear that POODLE is actually an acronym that refers to a security flaw. This security flaw affects version 3.0 of Secure Sockets Layer and also one of the most widely used encryption standards called Transport Layer Security.
In other words, POODLE is a bug that has been overlooked by the technology developers. The word POODLE itself is an acronym that denotes this security flaw. While the vulnerability itself cannot cause any discrepancies in the way you access specific websites, if cyber criminals make use of it, it can lead to serious data leaks and even money thefts.
Why is it so? Let us take a closer look at Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security, for a moment. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a technology employed by a big number of commercial websites. This technology has to protect customers’ privacy and ensure secure communication between the site and the user. In order others, SSL makes sure that your logins, passwords, and banking details zip back and forth safely, and no third party can read it. Transport Layer Security is also an encryption protocol that is designed to provide communication security.
Now, if those two important security technologies have a POODLE bug and cyber criminals learn how to exploit it, then your information could be decrypted and extracted from the encrypted transaction. As mentioned above, this information might include not only cookies and passwords, but also other sensitive data that would allow cyber criminals to impersonate you.
Who is vulnerable to POODLE exploitation?
Everyone. Multiple financial websites employ SSL 3.0 and Transport Layer Security to encrypt their transactions. According to various sources, the list of websites that are vulnerable to POODLE bug include such major financial institutions as Citibank, Bank of America, Suntrust, Vanguard, and many others. If you are not sure whether the website you access uses vulnerable encryption technology, you can always check it by performing a simple web search.
How to avoid POODLE?
Usually, when a bug is found the software developers are expected to release a patch that fixes the bug. However, as of now there seems to be no fix for the POODLE bug in SSL 3.0, so the best way to avoid this potential security issue is to disable SSL 3.0 support in web applications.
It is quite obvious that users cannot do much to protect themselves from POODLE bug. However, you will definitely do yourself a favor if you avoid logging in to your banking website over unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. You can never know who is watching.