What is the Heartbleed bug?



There is a new Internet security threat called the “Heartbleed bug” that is putting all your sensitive account information at risk. Mashable has a list of websites that were affected and which passwords you need to change to protect yourself, but what exactly is the Heartbleed bug?

Well it isn’t a virus meaning that it isn’t something spread around the internet that seeks to infect your computer. The Heartbleed bug is a flaw in the encryption code that could be exploited and one that has been reportedly around for two years.

From the researchers who found the problem:

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

The researchers go on to say that a fixed version has been released and deployed and many at risk sites have installed patches to fix the issue.

“We added protections for Facebook’s implementation of OpenSSL before this issue was publicly disclosed,” a Facebook spokesman told Mashable. “We haven’t detected any signs of suspicious account activity, but we encourage people to … set up a unique password.”

Mashable has a full list of potentially affected websites and whether your password needs to be changed or not.

Tags: Heartbleed Bug

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