I’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of the Heartbleed bug by now. However, while many people want to shut out all the technobabble on the internet, this is one issue we should all be paying attention to.
What is the Heartbleed bug?
The Heartbleed bug is a security flaw in the programming code used for secure websites. The flaw allowed hackers to steal the last piece of data processed on the website. It didn’t matter what the last transaction was, that’s what could be retrieved by the hacker. To make matters worse, the hacker could set up a program to continually query the secure site for the last piece of data. In other words, everything could be stolen.
Am I affected?
Not all secure websites were affected by this bug because not all use the OpenSSL code. However, unless you were paying attention and were doing your own amateur sleuthing (I confess, I did), there’s really no way to know whether you were affected unless the company behind the website sent you a notice explicitly stating their site and been compromised.
What should I be doing to protect myself from the Heartbleed bug?
It’s a pain, but the best way to cut off access anyone might have gained is to change your passwords immediately. When you do make the change, be sure you’re creating a secure password. By the way, is keeping all those passwords in your head overwhelming? If so, use a password manager. If you don’t already have one of these super-helpful programs, check out my March post, The password manager age is upon us. You’ll never want to go back to the days of remembering passwords. Been there, done that, not again.