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Security Bulletin: Vulnerabilities in GSKit affect IBM WebSphere MQ (CVE-2015-0159, CVE-2015-0138 and CVE-2014-6221)

Security Bulletin


GSKit is an IBM component that is used by IBM WebSphere MQ. The GSKit that is shipped with IBM WebSphere MQ contains multiple security vulnerabilities including the "FREAK: Factoring Attack on RSA-EXPORT keys" TLS/SSL client and server vulnerability.

Vulnerability Details

CVEID: CVE-2014-6221
Random Data Generation using GSKit MSCAPI/MSCNG Interface Code does not generate cryptographically random data. An attacker could use this weakness to gain complete confidentially and/or integrity compromise.
CVSS Base Score: 8.8
CVSS Temporal Score: See for the current score
CVSS Environmental Score*: Undefined
CVSS Vector: (AV:N/AC:M/Au:N/C:C/I:C/A:N)

CVEID: CVE-2015-0138
DESCRIPTION: A vulnerability in various IBM SSL/TLS implementations could allow a remote attacker to downgrade the security of certain SSL/TLS connections. An IBM SSL/TLS client implementation could accept the use of an RSA temporary key in a non-export RSA key exchange ciphersuite. This could allow a remote attacker using man-in-the-middle techniques to facilitate brute-force decryption of TLS/SSL traffic between vulnerable clients and servers.

This vulnerability is also known as the FREAK attack.

CVSS Base Score: 4.3
CVSS Temporal Score: See for the current score
CVSS Environmental Score*: Undefined
CVSS Vector: (AV:N/AC:M/Au:N/C:N/I:P/A:N)

CVEID: CVE-2015-0159
DESCRIPTION: An unspecified error in GSKit usage of OpenSSL crypto function related to the production of incorrect results on some platforms by Bignum squaring (BN_sqr) has an unknown attack vector and impact in some ECC operations.
CVSS Base Score: 2.6
CVSS Temporal Score: See for the current score
CVSS Environmental Score*: Undefined
CVSS Vector: (AV:N/AC:H/Au:N/C:N/I:P/A:N)

Affected Products and Versions

IBM WebSphere MQ V7.0.1

  • AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris & Windows

IBM WebSphere MQ 7.1
  • AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris & Windows

IBM WebSphere MQ 7.5
  • AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris & Windows

IBM WebSphere MQ 8.0
  • AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris & Windows

IBM MQ Appliance M2000


IBM strongly recommends immediately changing any channel definitions that use any of the following MQ CipherSpecs to use a stronger encryption algorithm;


Note that IBM may need to deprecate the use of weaker algorithms in response to a security vulnerability, for example MQ CipherSpecs which are not certified as FIPS 140-2 compliant via future product maintenance. Further details on the MQ CipherSpecs that are currently available can be found here.

IBM WebSphere MQ

Download and install the ifix for APAR IV70568 from Fix Central

IBM MQ Appliance M2000

A firmware update containing this fix is available, please contact your IBM Support Representative for further details.

Workarounds and Mitigations

Note that IBM WebSphere MQ for IBM i (all releases) is not affected by any of these vulnerabilities, however IBM recommends that customers review system value QSSLCSL to limit the use of export strength cipher specifications.

On other distributed platforms, enabling FIPS mode on a queue manager prevents export strength ciphers from being accepted by inbound connections and also from being used by outbound connections.

The MQ channel protocol protects against a man-in-the-middle downgrade of secure socket protocol and/or ciphersuites through channel SSLCIPH validation. After a successful handshake, the MQ protocol exchanges communications flows to negotiate channel startup, this processing detects an export ciphersuite being used where a stronger level of ciphersuite is required. In this scenario, the channel does not exchange any messages and logs an AMQ9631 error in the queue manager error logs before ending the connection.

Get Notified about Future Security Bulletins

Important note

IBM strongly suggests that all System z customers be subscribed to the System z Security Portal to receive the latest critical System z security and integrity service. If you are not subscribed, see the instructions on the System z Security web site. Security and integrity APARs and associated fixes will be posted to this portal. IBM suggests reviewing the CVSS scores and applying all security or integrity fixes as soon as possible to minimize any potential risk.


Related information

Change History

19th March 2015 - Initial version Published

*The CVSS Environment Score is customer environment specific and will ultimately impact the Overall CVSS Score. Customers can evaluate the impact of this vulnerability in their environments by accessing the links in the Reference section of this Security Bulletin.


According to the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is an "industry open standard designed to convey vulnerability severity and help to determine urgency and priority of response." IBM PROVIDES THE CVSS SCORES "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. CUSTOMERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF ANY ACTUAL OR POTENTIAL SECURITY VULNERABILITY.

Related information

A Japanese translation is available

Document information

More support for: WebSphere MQ

Software version: 7.0, 7.0.1, 7.1, 7.5, 8.0

Operating system(s): AIX, HP-UX, IBM i, Linux, Solaris, Windows

Software edition: All Editions

Reference #: 1699055

Modified date: 23 March 2015