Dangerous Security Flaw Likely Just a Hoax

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A claim of a software vulnerability in a program used to connect securely to servers across the Internet is likely a hoax, according to an analyst with the SANS Internet Storm Center.

The program, called OpenSSH (Secure Shell), is installed on tens of millions of servers made by vendors such as Red Hat, Hewlett-Packard, Apple and IBM. It is used by administrators to make encrypted connections with other computers and do tasks such as remotely updating files. OpenSSH is the open-source version, and there are commercial versions of the program.

Earlier this week, SANS received an anonymous e-mail claiming of a zero-day vulnerability in OpenSSH, which means a flaw in the software is already being exploited as it becomes public. It's the most dangerous type of software vulnerability since it means there's no fix for it yet and the bad guys know about it.

A true zero-day vulnerability in OpenSSH could be devastating for the Internet, allowing hackers to have carte blanche access to servers and PCs until a workaround or a patch is readied.

"That's why I think people are actually creating quite a bit of a panic," said Bojan Zdrnja.

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