In the past week, a massive security flaw was revealed across the Internet. It may have affected some of the websites you use the most. That includes Yahoo, Dropbox and Facebook. As a precaution, first thing you should do is change your passwords for any website that stores your credit card information or other private information. It’s an important way to protect yourself from the Internet bug named Heartbleed.
The technology website CNET says Heartbleed is extremely serious. Not only do websites need to make improvements to fix the security flaw, individual users need to change their passwords to make sure they have protected themselves from losing personal information. The website Netcraft reviewed almost a billion website servers and found as many as two-thirds of all websites may be affected. The bug may have been traveling around the Internet for quite a while but it was recently discovered by a website security company, Codenomicon.
The group built a website specifically focused on the Heartbleed bug and explains what has happened a little bit further:
“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 communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.”
You don’t have to know what every word in that paragraph means to know there’s big trouble. The best way to protect yourself is to dig back into all of the websites where you spend money and have typed in any type of credit or debit card information, and change your password. If you don’t want to take a lot of time figuring out how to change the password for each website, just click on “Forgot Password” near a website’s login area and follow the steps.
Mashable created a solid list of some of the biggest websites with and without security flaws that’s worth checking. Also, if you are curious, this website lets you test if the security flaw is fixed or not for individual links. It may be worth checking, but it’s also worth changing your password no matter what.