What Is This Scary Heartbleed Bug, And Why Is Everyone Freaking Out About It?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Mary Beth Quirk
April 9, 2014

One second everything on the Internet appears normal, and the next thing you know, everyone is talking about some security bug called “Heartbleed” that’s out to get us all. So what is it, and is it as scary of a problem as it seems to be?

To put it simply, it’s a bug that’s existed for two years, recently discovered by researchers at Google and a Finnish security firm called Codenomicon, and it could affect anyone who uses the Internet, so yes, it’s pretty darn worrisome.

Security researchers started warning web sites yesterday afternoon that the popular bit of software many, many sites use to encrypt communications, OpenSSL, had been hit with a bug on March 14, 2012, reports the Wall Street Journal. That bug could allow an attacker to access the encryption keys used to keep the info you send to companies private — credit card numbers, passwords, email addresses, you name it.

This is a powerful bug, there’s no doubt — and it could have been scraping info here and picking it up there for the last two years. To that end, major web site operators immediately started scrambling to fix the issue. A Yahoo spokeswoman said the company had “made the appropriate corrections” — this after several researchers said they were able to grab multiple Yahoo usernames and passwords.

The Rest…HERE

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