I’m sure that many of you will have already read the recent announcements about the latest threat to online security – The “heartbleed bug”.
But what is this heartbleed bug and how could it have effected me ?
So what is being dubbed as the “Heartbleed bug” is a security flaw that was first made public at the beginning of this week.
What the bug does, is it enables anybody with an Internet connection and the knowledge of how this bug works to read the memory of websites and systems protected by vulnerable versions of Open SSL.
Open SSL is the industry standard when it comes to securing information being sent online, what is basically does is it enables websites and systems to encrypt and decrypt information before being sent over the internet. (It takes your information, and rewrites it in a special code that only systems you grant access to can read)
Any website that processes payments on their website is actually required by the processors to have encryption enabled. This is and has been for a long time the industry standard and main way that information is secured when being sent online.
So this could mean that credit card details, sensitive medical information and even criminal records could potentially be leaked.
Essentially anything that is entered into a secure form online on an effected system could be decrypted by the hacker and used as they wish.
The information could also be used to impersonate services and users and in turn gain access to all manner of systems and additional information stored elsewhere.