Heartbleed bug creates biggest security scare in internet history

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 5:17pm

The padlock symbol next to the website URL has been the sign of a secure website connection for the last 20 years. However now, a huge security flaw has been discovered in the system, and experts are calling it the "Heartbleed" bug.

KETK spoke with President of Group M7, Michael Mahfood, who said, "The Heartbleed is an exploitation. It's not actually a virus, it's an attack".  It's a bug that waits until two computers are linked together in a secure hook up. When there is a break in the connection, one computer sends the other a pulse, also known as a heartbeat, to verify there is still a live connection. So hackers have figured out a way to send pulses disguised as this heartbeat, tricking the computer into sending information from its memory. Once connected, hackers can grab all kinds of data. Mahfood said, "It is specifically attacking open SSL which is a secured page that you see anywhere where you're putting your credit card in, or your social security number in, or your passwords in".  This means that internet users are susceptible to those attempting to steal their information.

In order to protect yourself from an attack, experts have some valuable advice. Mahfood said, "People that have the word 'password' as their password, or '4444', are ripe for their computer to be taken over by bugs and viruses and exploitation. You have to have an alphanumerically strong password, and change it often". Major companies like Facebook and Group M7 have already taken steps to eliminate the problem. Mahfood shared, "For Group M7's web server's, we have 14 of them that they've tried to attack in the last two weeks. So it's just a matter of opportunity versus somebody's information". Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to count how many people have been affected.

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