Article 85: The Heartbleed Bug

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, to the Modern Nerd blog. We are at DEFCON 3 around here, and there’s a fairly scary thing that has invaded a lot of online spaces. There was recently discovered a major security flaw in SSL (Secure Socket Layer) websites that store account information, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank accounts, the whole enchilada. Let’s get into what it means for you, and what security measures to take to protect yourself.

Big Brother has a Big Mouth

You knew that everything online was never really 100% safe, but now there’s a justification for the paranoia. A Google researcher, and a research team in Finland discovered what is being referred to as the Heartbleed bug about a week ago. Security measures went into place immediately at Google, Yahoo, banks, and hundreds of other sites to close up this vulnerability. Since then, most of the information that was at risk is protected again. What does that mean for you and me?

Well since we have no way of knowing if someone even smarter and more nefarious discovered the bug before it went viral, pardon the expression, your personal information and passwords could be in the hands of people who want to steal your identity and do you harm.

Bottom Line it for Me, Doc

Change your passwords. All of them. To something that you have never used before. Coming up with a whole new system of passwords for the couple dozen sites that you use on a regular basis is going to be a pain. I get that. However, you are better safe that sorry. Even if your account ends up in the wrong hands, be it your email, bank, or social networking sites, it could end up costing you a lot of headaches.

Is there any good news?

Yes! This loophole was closed quickly once discovered, major sites are now secure again, and there are sites that don’t even use this particular security protocol to keep data, so were never at risk. If you want to know what sites are the most likely to require a change of password, delve further into it.

There are some password keepers like 1Password that were never at risk, so if you have always wondered about outsourcing remembering your password to keeper software, now is an ideal time to do some research on it. Always check out the site thoroughly and never take one opinion as gospel, see what others are saying.

 

After all, this is the internet. There always exists the possibility of getting hacked. If you do your preventative maintenance now, you’re likely to never have an issue. Thanks for reading as always. Check out more content through our mailing lists, and like our page on Facebook to stay up to date. That is after you change your password.

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