The best-known cryptographic library in the open-source world is almost certainly OpenSSL.

Firstly, it’s one of the most widely-used, to the point that most developers on most platforms have heard of it even if they haven’t used it directly.

Secondly, it’s probably the most widely-publicised, sadly because of a rather nasty bug known as Heartbleed that was discovered more than eight years ago.

Despite being patched promptly (and despite reliable workarounds existing for developers who couldn’t or wouldn’t update their vulnerable OpenSSL versions quickly), Heartbleed remains a sort of “showcase” bug, not least because it was one of the first bugs to be turned into an aggressive PR vehicle by its discoverers.

With an impressive name, a logo all of its own, and a dedicated website, Heartbleed quickly became a global cybersecurity superstory, and, for better or worse, became inextricably linked with mentions of the name OpenSSL, as though the danger of the bug lived on even after it had been excised from the code.

Life beyond OpenSSL

But there are several other open-source cryptographic libraries that are widely used as well as or instead of OpenSSL, notably including Mozilla’s NSS (short for Network Security Services) and the GNU project’s GnuTLS library.

As it happens, GnuTLS just patched a bug known as CVE-2022-2509, reported in the project’s security advisory GNUTLS-SA-2022-07-07.

This patch fixes a memory mismanagement error known as a double-free.