If you have spent any time online in the past few months, you will have heard a lot of discussion and general panic regarding the Heartbleed security bug. And unfortunately, if you do spend any amount of time online, there is a good chance that you will be vulnerable to the new threat that it poses.
In simple terms, Heartbleed is a sort of glitch that exists in certain software, leaving it vulnerable, and allowing online hackers to easily gain access to whatever important information may be contained in the software. This vulnerability existed for two years until it was discovered, and naturally everyone is now frantically trying to patch up the problem.
Until then, it is up to you to try to protect yourself as much as you can — here are some tips for how.
1. Educate Yourself
To protect yourself against any given threat, you first need to know as much as you can about that threat. Luckily, there is a lot of useful information online regarding Heartbleed. This interactive breakdown of the epidemic is a good place to start. It will give you a basic understanding of the Heartbleed bug, and the best ways to fight against it.
2. Find Out Your Weakness
Now that you know the basics, and the threat that this bug poses to you, it is time to figure out exactly where you are vulnerable. The chances are that you have a lot of different accounts online, and a lot of different websites have access to your personal information. From the minds of LastPass, here’s a page where you can enter any website that you want, and it will tell you if it is, or has been, vulnerable to Heartbleed. This way you can know if which passwords you need to change.
3. Keep up on the Latest News
Cyber threats are a constant danger to web users. It is worth keeping up to date with the latest news as we learn more about Heartbleed, and site owners become aware of their possible security breaches. Extending beyond Heartbleed, it is essential to keep up to date with current cyber risks, weaknesses, and new attacks. For this, the U.S. Department of Defense is an excellent resource.
There has been a lot of panic and misinformation surrounding Heartbleed, but if you take the time to get to know the threats, you will be able to put your mind at ease and be far better protected against potential cyber threats.