OpenSSH Releases v7.2 Security Update

On the 29th of February OpenSSH released version 7.2 of OpenSSH which further hardened it against the Logjam attack (by increasing the minimum modulus size supported for diffie-hellman-group-exchange to 2048 bits) as well as incorporating changes initially made available in mid-January with version 7.1p2

Why Should These Issues Be Considered Important?
Further hardening OpenSSH against Logjam is important for the reasons detailed in my previous blog post on that attack.

With version 7.1p2, experimental support for client-side (where a client is the name given to computer/device being used by a person to access a server) roaming support was disabled to resolve a high severity information disclosure issue. Roaming is the name given to the ability to resume an SSH (Secure Shell, defined) connection from where it left off should a client become disconnected suddenly.

While this issue is not easy to exploit (further details provided below in the heading “How Can I Protect Myself from These Issues”) it had the potential to allow an attacker who had compromised a legitimate SSH server to obtain the credentials (username and password) of the user attempting to access the server. If the attacker controlled server had SSH private keys stored in it’s memory the attacker could have also compromised further SSH accounts.

3 other low risk security vulnerabilities detailed in the release notes were also resolved within version 7.1p2. For version 7.2, the above mentioned roaming code was removed and 2 further security issues detailed in the release notes were resolved.

How Can I Protect Myself from These Issues?
The means of authentication to the SSH server prevents the exploitation of the information disclosure issue mentioned above (fixed in version 7.1p2) by means of a man-in-the-middle attack (defined). While you are working to deploy the patch for this issue, for versions 5.4 of OpenSSH and higher the roaming code can be disabled as follows (source):

  • adding ‘UseRoaming no’ to the global ssh_config(5) file
  • or to user configuration in ~/.ssh/config
  • by passing -oUseRoaming=no on the command line

Please upgrade to OpenSSH version 7.2 (the most recent at the time of writing) to resolve all of the security issues mentioned within this post.

Thank you.

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