‘Heartbleed’ bug infests cyberspace

A word of advice: Change your passwords in case this bug is affecting your information

A word of advice: Change your passwords in case this bug is affecting your information

Whether you have realized or not, a techno bug by the moniker of “heartbleed” has probably affected your personal information on the internet in some slight way. This bug is essentially an information leak that is getting personal information from sites that use a certain type of encryption software known as “SSL”.

The whole reason for creating this software was to keep user information safe from hackers by turning the info into a series of numbers. This plan has backfired, however, and just about any website with a padlock in the address is subject to hacking. Popular websites using this software include Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon among others.

In fact, a recent survey by W3Techs showed that 81% of major websites use SSL. Although most sites have patched up their site so to not be affected by heartbleed, many have not.

So why should you care? If the bug is as big as it’s expected to be, that means hackers may have been able to view your personal items such as emails, instant messages, and internet history for the past two years. And if that doesn’t bother you, these sophisticated web thieves may have even acquired your user names and passwords for numerous different sites. The bug leaves no trace either, so, if you have been hacked, you may never know.

The best word of advice from experts at this point is to change all usernames and passwords for any website you can think of. Fortunately, a a program by the name of “Passomatic” let’s one change multiple passwords for multiple sites at once. Social media sites are also aware of the problem, urging users to change their passwords just in case.

As far as getting the problem totally fixed, that could take years. Until every website checks to see the damage, heartbleeding hackers will remain.