With the release of heartbleed how does one protect themselves with closed source networking hardware like cisco? Especially hardware with VPN variety.

Would it be best to replaced such systems with opensource hardware setups such as pfSense or OpenWall?

  • Have you confirmed you're vulnerable in the first place?
    – DCKing
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 13:16
  • @jonsten, You should disable SSL. What you should do is restrict port with SSL only to limited admin PC (consoles).
    – Kasun
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


With closed source you cannot do much besides trusting the vendor.

But I think this is not so much a discussion about open or closed source as OpenSSL is open source and the the bug was not discovered for years - so this is no guarantee at all.

Specifically for heartbleed you can i.e. deactivate the heartbeat functionality in OpenSSL which makes the attack impossible to happen.

In the wild I've seen companies, where I know that their servers where vulnerable, catching the heartbeat packages on the firewall/IDP level and making the attack impossible as no heartbleed packet was able to reach the server until they were able to patch the servers.

  • How were they able to do that? SNORT?
    – Jason
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 12:59
  • Well there are also other IPS solutions of big vendors such as F5, Cisco etc. that are capable of capturing and blocking packets of a certain type or content. Deep packet inspection is the key word here. Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 14:32

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