Do you have the HeartBleed?

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Do you have the HeartBleed?

Yet again, the world is faced with a new computer hack scare. Recently, one of google’s security teams and a software development firm called Codenomicon discovered an encryption flaw in OpenSSL that can potentially expose all your sensitive data to a hacker.

OpenSSL is an open-source set of libraries that provides encrypting for online services.

Websites using OpenSSL make up 56% of all websites and half of these websites are vulnerable to the bug. The bug called the “Heartbleed bug” has affected websites like Yahoo, OKCupid, Airnbnb, NASA, etc. Facebook and Twitter also use OpenSSL, however it is not clear whether or not they are vulnerable.

This bug is being called the biggest security threat that the internet has ever seen. According to experts, all your account information may be at stake if you have logged into any of the affected sites over the past two years. This includes your credit card information passwords and other personal details.

 What Can We Do?

The bad part is that there is nothing we can do about what has happened in the past and we can’t even do anything about it by ourselves. It is the responsibility of the websites to update their servers with a patch that deals with the bug.

The good news is that incidents of a hacker exploiting this flaw are not evident and it looks like the researchers were the first to get wind of it.

However, the issue with heartbleed is that a hacker could have penetrated the defenses of the affected websites, stolen whatever they wanted and left without a trace. Thus making it difficult to ascertain if there was a breach or not.

Right now the first step to take is to find out what sites were infected by the bug and was your personal data on those sites.

Next ascertain if the site has issued a patch for the bug or not. That patch needs to include reissuing any digital certificates that might be vulnerable.

Once your are sure that a patch has been applied to protect the website from the bug, then change your passwords to these sites. As mentioned before, unless the website fixes the issue the users will not be able to do anything on their own. However, most websites such as Amazon Web Services, Akamai and WordPress have already issued an OpenSSL software security patch.

Note: Changing passwords before the patch has been applied will not make any difference as a hacker will just as easily be able to get your password again.

And finally, review and keep an eye on sensitive accounts, especially those that are used for financial transactions, in the coming few weeks.

 

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