While its name seems too trivial to be taken seriously, dismissing this virtual menace as a simple nuisance could be your biggest mistake. We’re not encouraging people to panic but it would be foolish on our end to suggest that they do nothing about this online threat.
So what is this Heartbleed bug? Should we be scared of it? Who may be affected? How do we deal with it? To be enlightened on these concerns, read on.
What is Heartbleed?
It’s a security bug discovered recently that has affected thousands of websites, wireless home routers, Android phones, and other devices that require passwords. In short, it’s an internet flaw that has rendered several websites and devices that rely on passwords for security vulnerable.
What can be affected?
- Internet networking equipment
- Tablets and smartphones with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean OS
- E-mail, instant messengers, app communication accounts
- Wireless printers and routers
- Ubuntu Linux
What are safe from Heartbleed?
- Mac and Windows PCs
- Linux laptops, desktop units
- E-mail, web-based, mobile-app communication accounts not meant to be secure
- Most Android and iOS devices
What can be done to remedy the situation?
To begin with, make it a point to change the passwords for personal accounts on affected web services and websites. Afterward, install updates for devices running on Android Jelly Beans or desktop distributions with Linux OS. In addition, install firmware updates for wireless printers, routers, and firewalls, especially those that you use at home.
Will there be anybody exploiting Heartbleed?
Aside from certain government agencies who have fondness for collecting user information and web traffic, Heartbleed can basically be tapped and exploited by anyone with basic programming skills, especially those who are aching to get their hands on sensitive user data.
To sum it all up: don’t let Heartbleed’s name fool you. It may sound like something that you can simply get over with after a few rounds of beer but in reality, security experts have made it clear that it’s nothing to mess with.
And if you need strong anonymity on the web, the experts suggest that you stay low and away from the internet until the dusts settle or until such a time that people have figured a way to handle this bug’s rampage across the net.