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Heartbleed logo.

Unless you shield yourself carefully from any interactions with or about the internet (and the fact that you are reading this internet blog article suggest you are not shielding yourself) you have probably heard of the Heartbleed web security bug. And if you are like most people, you understand that the Heartbleed bug presents a a very real threat to web security, but you are just not very sure about who is actually at risk or what can be done to protect yourself.

Hopefully this article will allow you to better understand what Heartbleed is, who is at risk, and what steps you can take to prevent your security from being compromised.

What is Heartbleed?

Heartbleed is a programming error in the software for popularly used versions of OpenSSL. This is software intended to protect sensitive data on the web through encryption. This particular programming error leaves the software vulnerable to exploitation, allowing certain unsavoury elements an opportunity decode encrypted material. This means, passwords, credit,card numbers, social insurance numbers and all kinds of other sensitive information is made vulnerable to being decoded by people you would not want to have that information.


Who Is at Risk?

 Not all secure encrypted sites are affected by Heartbleed but among the ones that are affected are chat servers, mobile apps, email servers, virtual private networks, routers, and about two thirds of active websites on the internet.

 Even the Canada Revenue Agency Website uses an OpenSSL version that was affected by the bug. For a more comprehensive list of popular sites affected you can refer to an article on the Mashable website . A list of affected mobile apps has been created on the Digital Trends website.


How can I Protect Myself?

A patch for the Heartbleed bug has been created and is already installed on many sites. Once a sites vulnerable version of OpenSSL is patched, there are steps you can take to protect yourself... But not before it is patched! If you take these steps before the patch is installed, your information will still be vulnerable.

  1. Figure out which services you use are infected. There are two tools you can use ( and ). Use both of these tools.
  2. If you find an affected service that you use, check to see if the bug has been patched on that service. C|Net has compiled a list of the top 100 websites and their patch statuses. If you are unsure of the status of a service or it is not on this list, you may need to contact the company behind the service directly.
  3. Change your password on any site that you use, which has also installed the patch!! If a site you use has not installed a patch, wait until it has, and then change the password.

 Heartbleed is a potential threat to your security online, but by using the resources presented here, and following the steps presented, you can take action to protect yourself.


Richmond Lauman
JAMAXX Web Design

Creative Commons Licence
What About the Heartbleed Bug by Richmond Lauman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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