The ‘Heart Bleed’ OpenSSL bug has created many security concerns. People are unsure of whether their accounts have been compromised or if they need to take any action. It is imperative to garner pertinent information about the bug and the affected group to better understand the situation.
This bug, at this moment, is a security concern to the users of OpenSSL. This is one of the most widely used open source libraries, and this elevates the chances of more number of websites being affected by the same. The ‘Heart Bleed’ bug makes it possible for unauthorized individuals and groups to read the memory of SSL protected servers. Additionally, it also discloses the cryptographic keys. This means that messages can be decoded and hands can also be laid upon credentials/content of the users. What is alarming is that such level of compromise in the security can allow individuals can access everything that they desire and still literally stay invisible.
What needs to be appreciated is that this isn’t about SSL or the certificates; instead, the susceptibility is of the OpenSSL software. Such susceptibility, however, is wide ranging and around 17.5% of the SSL web servers are expected to have been affected by the same. The attackers can retrieve private keys and even decrypt the server’s encrypted traffic. Furthermore, the attackers can impeccably pose as the server, and cause more serious threats to the system.
Don’t be mistaken to believe that you can’t protect yourself. There are a few things that you can do to fortify your online accounts’ and content’s privacy and security. Following are certain steps that we advise you to take:
1. It is important to identify the websites that have been affected by the bug. Out of those, you would be required to recognize the ones that you actively or passively use.
2. You might not have the time or the willingness to exert so much effort. There is an alternative available. LastPass, a password security firm, has put in place a Heart Bleed Checker. This is an effective tool via which you can identify if the website/s that you use have been affected. You punch in the URL of any website, and the system will tell you whether that site has been affected. Moreover, it will also tell you if a patch has been issued by the site.
3. Continuously keep an eye on your sensitive online accounts. If you note any suspicious activity there, you need to notify the website authorities. This is especially important to do for the next couple of weeks at least.
4. It wouldn’t really hurt to change your password for accounts. This would only add another layer of protection, in case your account/s have been compromised in any way.
These steps will go a long way in helping you augment the security of your accounts and content on the internet. After all, what belongs to you is supposed to stay secured.