Security bug puts your online information at risk
By: Brittany Paris
A virus called the Heartbleed Bug is causing security headaches on the Internet.
Anywhere that accepts credit cards and uses software called SSL is at risk. Your usernames and passwords are also at risk.
The bug basically undoes the web encryption, which keeps your information safe.
Dustin Pearson, Senior Technician at Quick Connect, says usually on these sites, you'll see a little padlock on the screen, letting you know it's secure.
“You are secure, except for on their end, their software has a little glitch in it. And they're taking advantage of this glitch,” Pearson said.
The Heartbleed Bug exploits a flaw in the SSL and is able to grab the information on the memory of the server.
“The main reason it's a big deal is because so many websites use this,” Pearson said.
The bug was announced on Tuesday, but it's been around for two years. So why are we just hearing about it now?
“Because the software's been fixed. And so they're seeing these attacks happen now and are documenting them much better, whereas before it was documented but not quite as well,” Pearson said.
But the bug is still a problem because not all websites are going to fix it in a timely manner.
Unfortunately, aside from keeping an eye on your financial statements or changing your online passwords often, there's really not a lot you can do to protect yourself.
“This is all on who ever hosts the sites side of the equation. Because this is their software problem not your software problem,” Pearson said.
Pearson says if you're not familiar with a website, be leery of putting any confidential information on it. Also, avoid signing up for anything for a few days while this is being worked out.
CNet has published a list of the top 100 websites that have fixed the problem and it updating it regularly.
You can find the information here: http://www.cnet.com/how-to/which-sites-have-patched-the-heartbleed-bug/